Setting targets for improvement

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We have established a baseline measurement of leadership communication using a robust survey. Our intention is to repeat this survey regularly to monitor progress. What increases should we strive for on a yearly basis to show positive impact?

If the survey was designed by a consulting company, they should have database norms for what average looks like, as well as the highest score they’ve ever seen on each communication skill and the lowest. Where you scored versus their norms will help you set targets. If you’re below average, you can set the target to reach the average level. If you’re already above average, you can incrementally try to reach something close to the stretch target of the highest scoring company in an industry/environment similar to yours.

The targets also need to take into account what intervention you’re going to be undertaking before you measure again. If you put every manager through in-person training interspersed with time to practice skills on the job little by little, you’re likely to be able to achieve bigger success than if you just send out a list of tips by email or have managers passively view a series of webinars while they’re multi-tasking at their desks.

Even if you don’t have any other comparison point, such as database norms, remember that you’re more likely to be able to achieve a larger percentage increase if your baseline starts very low. The higher your annual baseline gets over time, the less room for improvement between now and perfect, so your target increases should become smaller. At some point, considering management turnover rates, your goal will be to maintain the level you’ve already reached.