CLO as Sports Agent

Learn from the pros. Stats matter and finding the ones that matter to your company is key.

The results of the new SEC reporting requirements are starting to appear on company reports and they “meet expectations”. As many managers will attest this rating covers the entire range of performance from “best of the rest” down to “not great, but not bad enough to replace.” I had low expectations so well done public companies.

Last Autumn the Zooms were flickering with talking heads (mine included) talking about how this new reporting requirement was a huge opportunity to raise the profile of L&D. Executive conversation based on data in every hallway. New standards and scorecards were sure to spread like wildfire. And then…not so much. The regulation was meant to evolve over time with reporting norms coming from the companies. So it will. But it will take time.

Moneyball

So what is a learning leader to do in the meantime? CLO’s need to talk data. The organization must be shown that in and numbers L&D has something to add to the story being told every quarter. how learning is scaling to develop new leaders in support of growth. How development is a tool for attracting the best and brightest. How L&D will help the company win.

When it comes to talking data I like to look at professional sports. I never played sports and while I enjoy them I think I look at them differently then some. As a learning geek, sports have everything to love: people dynamics, skills, strategy, performance targets, and unlike the business world a ton of data and a short feedback cycle. Make a change this week see the results on the weekend. Fully transparent performance reviews with comprehensive analytics every week. What is not to love?

And within this world of public performance how is a team contributor )let’s call then L&D) to set themselves apart, especially at contract time? The team’s star (let’s call them sales) can focus on titles, wins and other team accomplishments. But how does the center back (footballer) or left tackle (American footballer) stand out? Data.

In baseball the batting average (# hits/ # at-bats) is a classic sporting statistic. For decades it was seen at the gauge of a batter’s prowess. Then someone (I assume a player’s agent) asked the question, “but can they hit when it counts?” and so was born the slugging percentage. This is now a common stat representing how well the player bats with runners in scoring position. It is a stat in a context that matters. And there are lots of them used all you need to do is watch a game/match/event. Some sports broadcasters forget the “that matters” parts as they list a player’s exceptionally high batting percentage, against left handed pitchers (relevant), on Thursdays in June (maybe relevant but doesn’t matter).

So why not forget the “days of learning per employee” stat and talk about “days delivered in support of new product launches” to show how critical L&D is to new revenue? Or “delivered within 30 days of needs identification” to show responsiveness. Or “% of offerings that are new or refreshed every quarter/year” to show vitality of product set. These stats are powerful differentiators, specific to your business and your L&D organization’s value proposition. Best of all they are great conversation starters.

So what is your slugging percentage?

Author: J.

J. Miguez has spent the last 25 years designing Learning & Development organizations and the service offerings that support them. Learning domain explorer.

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