How to track soft skills like leadership

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One of our clients, a member of our master group, asked me about the best practices for tracking (quantifying and measuring) soft skills like leadership. The first obvious answer that I had in my mind was: "Use 360 degree feedback, compare before and after results and this will help to get an idea about one's leadership skills."

I was not really happy with my own answer. It seemed to be a very formal approach for getting a single "skill index" that works great for corporate reports, but doesn't really have any practical application. As a result, I suggested to link soft skills to tangible business objectives. A client objected that he is reading a book on leadership now that can be hardly linked to any tangible objective...

This conversation helped me to answer some contradictory questions about tracking soft skill, I've sorted out my thoughts in a new article and this presentation: http://www.bscdesigner.com/how-to-track-soft-skills-like-leadership.htm

What do you think: is tracking soft skills applied to specific objective is better than a simple tracking of soft skills (using something like 360 degree feedback)?

Published in: Business, Technology

How to track soft skills like leadership

  1. 1. HOW TO TRACK SOFT SKILLS LIKE LEADERSHIP Based on http://www.bscdesigner.com/how-to-track-soft-skills-like-leadership.htm By Aleksey Savkin
  2. 2. BSC DESIGNER HOW TO TRACK SOFT SKILLS LIKE LEADERSHIP • Here are some thoughts about how to track improvement of soft skills like leadership.
  3. 3. BSC DESIGNER Tracking soft skills helps to calculate ROI Using feedback from the stakeholders A classical approach One of the most well-known business frameworks to do this type of the research is a 360 degree feedback. “How to track soft skills like leadership” Source: www.bscdesigner.com
  4. 4. BSC DESIGNER Focus efforts onto the final resultsTracking soft skills helps to calculate ROI Link soft skills to business objectives Convert a soft skill into a hard skill; convert a vague goal into a specific objective. Tangible business objectives Tracking Soft Skills Using feedback from the stakeholders A classical approach One of the most well-known business frameworks to do this type of the research is a 360 degree feedback. “How to track soft skills like leadership” Source: www.bscdesigner.com
  5. 5. BSC DESIGNER Focus efforts onto the final resultsTracking soft skills helps to calculate ROI Link soft skills to business objectives Convert a soft skill into a hard skill; convert a vague goal into a specific objective. Determine areas for further improvement. Prepare a skill development plan. Tangible business objectives Tracking Soft Skills Using feedback from the stakeholders A classical approach One of the most well-known business frameworks to do this type of the research is a 360 degree feedback. “How to track soft skills like leadership” Source: www.bscdesigner.com
  6. 6. BSC DESIGNER WHY SHOULD I TRACK SOFT SKILLS? • Tracking soft skills helps to calculate ROI
  7. 7. BSC DESIGNER WHY SHOULD I TRACK SOFT SKILLS? • Tracking soft skills helps to calculate ROI • The measurement of soft-skills helps to focus efforts onto the final results.
  8. 8. A CLASSICAL APPROACH – USING FEEDBACK FROM THE STAKECHHOLDERS
  9. 9. BSC DESIGNER A CLASSICAL APPROACH SUGGESTION • Specifying key competencies that need to be evaluated;
  10. 10. BSC DESIGNER A CLASSICAL APPROACH SUGGESTION • Specifying key competencies that need to be evaluated; • Obtaining feedback from other stakeholders;
  11. 11. BSC DESIGNER A CLASSICAL APPROACH SUGGESTION • Specifying key competencies that need to be evaluated; • Obtaining feedback from other stakeholders; • Using this feedback to estimate the change of a skills level.
  12. 12. BSC DESIGNER SOLUTIONS OF SOME MENTIONED ISSUES • The survey may be done anonymously or by a 3-rd party company; in this way employees will be more comfortable answering questions;
  13. 13. BSC DESIGNER SOLUTIONS OF SOME MENTIONED ISSUES • It is better to do a survey before and after a certain event (leadership training for example), the difference between two estimations will be more representative;
  14. 14. BSC DESIGNER SOLUTIONS OF SOME MENTIONED ISSUES • It is better to do a survey before and after a certain event (leadership training for example), the difference between two estimations will be more representative; • It’s better to focus on key components of the skill
  15. 15. BSC DESIGNER USING FEEDBACK FROM THE STAKEHOLDERS • One of the most well-known business frameworks to do this type of the research is a 360 degree feedback.
  16. 16. BSC DESIGNER USING FEEDBACK FROM THE STAKEHOLDERS • One of the most well-known business frameworks to do this type of the research is a 360 degree feedback. • The idea of the method is to evaluate different skills while taking into account the points of view of clients, colleagues, and supervisor.
  17. 17. LINK SOFT SKILL TO SPECIFIC BUSINESS OBJECTIVES
  18. 18. BSC DESIGNER TANGIBLE BUSINESS OBJECTIVES • New leadership skills can result into lowering retention rate
  19. 19. BSC DESIGNER TANGIBLE BUSINESS OBJECTIVES • New leadership skills can result into lowering retention rate • New leadership skills can result into improving employee engagement
  20. 20. BSC DESIGNER TANGIBLE BUSINESS OBJECTIVES • New leadership skills can result into lowering retention rate • New leadership skills can result into improving employee engagement • New leadership skills can result into an improvement of some specific results measured with KPIs
  21. 21. BSC DESIGNER TANGIBLE BUSINESS OBJECTIVES • In some sense this approach converts a soft skill into a hard skill.
  22. 22. BSC DESIGNER TANGIBLE BUSINESS OBJECTIVES • In some sense this approach converts a soft skill into a hard skill. • This approach converts a vague goal into a specific objective.
  23. 23. AN EXAMPLE USING FOREIGN LANGUAGE SPEAKING SKILLS
  24. 24. BSC DESIGNER A CLASSICAL SCHEME OF LEARNING A FOREIGN LANGUAGE FAILS • A lack of time, resources, or methodology.
  25. 25. BSC DESIGNER A CLASSICAL SCHEME OF LEARNING A FOREIGN LANGUAGE FAILS • A lack of time, resources, or methodology. • They were trained, they passed tests, but tests had little to do with practical communication skills.
  26. 26. BSC DESIGNER A CLASSICAL SCHEME OF LEARNING A FOREIGN LANGUAGE FAILS • A lack of time, resources, or methodology. • They were trained, they passed tests, but tests had little to do with practical communication skills. • It is not linked to any important challenge
  27. 27. BSC DESIGNER A BETTER APPROACH FOCUS ON KEY PROBLEMS LINK THEM OBJECTIVES • An objective formulated as “Learn Spanish language to be able to move to Spain in 1 year.”
  28. 28. BSC DESIGNER A BETTER APPROACH FOCUS ON KEY PROBLEMS LINK THEM OBJECTIVES • An objective formulated as “Learn Spanish language to be able to move to Spain in 1 year.” • A sub-objective might be learning vocabulary necessary for specific situations.
  29. 29. BSC DESIGNER A BETTER APPROACH FOCUS ON KEY PROBLEMS LINK THEM OBJECTIVES • An objective formulated as “Learn Spanish language to be able to move to Spain in 1 year.” • A sub-objective might be learning vocabulary necessary for specific situations. • Grammar and other important stuff comes as a supportive objectives.
  30. 30. BSC DESIGNER IT IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT TO LINK SOFT SKILLS TO TANGIBLE OBJECTIVES. • In an example with foreign languages one needs to research possible situations that might be challenging.
  31. 31. BSC DESIGNER IT IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT TO LINK SOFT SKILLS TO TANGIBLE OBJECTIVES. • In an example with foreign languages one needs to research possible situations that might be challenging. • In an example with leadership one needs to research specific points of application of new leadership skills.
  32. 32. BSC DESIGNER IT IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT TO LINK SOFT SKILLS TO TANGIBLE OBJECTIVES. • This approach will be paid back as it will be easier to track the progress
  33. 33. BSC DESIGNER IT IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT TO LINK SOFT SKILLS TO TANGIBLE OBJECTIVES. • This approach will be paid back as it will be easier to track the progress • This approach will lead to a huge motivation for learning and applying something new in your life.
  34. 34. WILL THIS APPROACH WORK IN 100% OF THE CASES?
  35. 35. BSC DESIGNER WILL THIS APPROACH WORK IN 100% OF THE CASES? • It looks like the approach described above won’t work in 100% of the cases.
  36. 36. BSC DESIGNER WILL THIS APPROACH WORK IN 100% OF THE CASES? • For the first look it seems like it is not possible to link these leadership skills to any tangible objective.
  37. 37. BSC DESIGNER WILL THIS APPROACH WORK IN 100% OF THE CASES? • For the first look it seems like it is not possible to link these leadership skills to any tangible objective. • But this is actually not a problem of tracking soft skills, but a problem of book reading, training, or education that are pointless (soft skill was not linked to tangible objective).
  38. 38. BSC DESIGNER A GENERAL RECOMMENDATION • If you invest your time in improving some soft skill, make sure you link it to some challenge you have and try it immediately (at least on some small scale model).
  39. 39. WHAT’S NEXT? SKILL DEVELOPMENT PLAN
  40. 40. BSC DESIGNER DETERMINE AREAS FOR FURTHER IMPROVEMENT • Skill level analysis will give you details about areas of strength and areas for further improvement.
  41. 41. BSC DESIGNER DETERMINE AREAS FOR FURTHER IMPROVEMENT • Skill level analysis will give you details about areas of strength and areas for further improvement. • Once these areas are identified one can invest more in learning new skills to achieve improvement or outsource weak parts of the skills “portfolio” to colleague or third party.
  42. 42. BSC DESIGNER PREPARE A SKILL DEVELOPMENT PLAN • An example with foreign languages: one could find out that he doesn’t really have a big enough vocabulary to talk with a manager in a bank.
  43. 43. BSC DESIGNER PREPARE A SKILL DEVELOPMENT PLAN • The information will help to build a tangible learning plan for this person.
  44. 44. BSC DESIGNER PREPARE A SKILL DEVELOPMENT PLAN • The information will help to build a tangible learning plan for this person. • The result is that specified objectives will be achieved faster, and with less effort.
  45. 45. KEY TAKE-AWAYS
  46. 46. BSC DESIGNER KEY IDEAS THAT WILL HELP WITH ESTIMATING SOFT-SKILLS • Understand the importance of tracking soft skills.
  47. 47. BSC DESIGNER KEY IDEAS THAT WILL HELP WITH ESTIMATING SOFT-SKILLS • Understand the importance of tracking soft skills. • The most simple way to estimate soft skills is to ask stakeholders; use 360 degree feedback for this purpose;
  48. 48. BSC DESIGNER KEY IDEAS THAT WILL HELP WITH ESTIMATING SOFT-SKILLS • Understand the importance of tracking soft skills. • The most simple way to estimate soft skills is to ask stakeholders; use 360 degree feedback for this purpose; • Ask stakeholders anonymously; compare before/after evaluations, rather than a single measurement result
  49. 49. BSC DESIGNER KEY IDEAS THAT WILL HELP WITH ESTIMATING SOFT-SKILLS • Link soft skills to some tangible objectives; this will focus your efforts and ensure better results.
  50. 50. BSC DESIGNER KEY IDEAS THAT WILL HELP WITH ESTIMATING SOFT-SKILLS • Link soft skills to some tangible objectives; this will focus your efforts and ensure better results. • Determine areas for further improvement, prepare a skill development plan.
  51. 51. BSC DESIGNER MORE ABOUT THE BALANCED SCORECARD Find more insightful articles about the Balanced Scorecard in ”Articles” section at www.bscdesigner.com BSC DESIGNER
  52. 52. BSC DESIGNER THANK YOU! Feel free to send us your questions using the contact form at www.bscdesigner.com

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