The ROI of going for it on 4th down with 2 yards to go.

Right before halftime, the score was 24-3.

It was 4th down with 2 yards to go with the goal line right there less than 10 yards away.

And instead of going for it, the Raiders kicked a field goal. Instead of taking a strategic risk with a better return potential, they opted for the conservative play and secured 3 points.

That’s okay, but not when you’re down by that much and trying to recapture competitive advantage and turn momentum around.

Any momentum you can get.

Yesterday was the season opener for the Tennessee Titans and Oakland Raiders, and the Titans trounced the Raiders 38-13 by game’s end. The Raiders looked like a pee-wee Pop Warner team playing for the fun of it, not a professional team getting paid to perform and win.

Yes, I’m a Raiders fan. And I know it’s too easy to be an armchair quarterback and coach.

It’s also too easy to be an armchair manager and leader in any organization, especially when you are the real managers and leaders in the same said organizations.

I can’t tell you how many countless surveys I’ve seen this year that validate over and over again how many organizations (leaders across departments and roles including talent management and human resources — especially talent management and HR) agree that leadership development, succession planning, coaching and mentoring, employment engagement and retention, and training and development are of the highest priority.

But yet when it comes to making the business case for the bottom line, we’re not doing so well. That means internal folks and external firms in the same breath.

Consider this recent news from Hays Senior Finance and LeaderShape in London, England last week:

While multi-millions of pounds are spent on coaching across the UK, 15% of organisations admit they have absolutely no measurements in place to assess the impact of their programmes.

Sound familiar?

The survey also shows that 68% of businesses fail to use coaching directly to address corporate objectives and outcomes are often simply referenced at a personal level.

Internal coach-mentors are the preferred choice by those who use coaching, with 73% of companies using in-house support. However, 16% of coaches and 28% of mentors do not receive any training or support themselves, while companies describe 29% of team or group facilitators as untrained.

Although the football preference in the UK is different than here in the States, I suspect that these stats ring true here as well many other developed and developing countries around the globe.

Listen, I get the touchy-feely. I understand the importance of developing emotional intelligence in yourself and your employees. I know how personal triumphs will play out in how I manage my staff each day. I also know what metrics-paralysis can do to an organization and the lack of continued train-the-trainer training.

But you’ve got to connect the dots between effective development and business growth.

For example:

Let’s say Sue is VP of Group Y in your company and has 10 direct reports under her. Sue is smart and innovative when it comes to product development, but not very effective at motivating, organizing and overall people management.

This is a problem. Project after project in Sue’s group is over budget with missed deadlines. Plus, two of her team members are constantly combative with the rest of the team, but she can’t bring herself to confront them and every formal and informal review glosses over the problem. In fact, she’s already had one of her brightest team members leave for another group in the organization.

Sue goes through a quality leadership development workshop with six months of sound follow-up coaching.

Now, what can be measured?

  • Better collaborative advantage — more projects are on time and under budget.
  • Toxic players are let go and retention of A-players increases.
  • Better hiring decisions are made in the existing team.
  • Overall productivity increases while time to market decreases.
  • Revenue generated per team member (hopefully) increases and aligns with corporate goals.
  • Other numerous positive ripples as well…

And now she’s even coaching/mentoring her team members while her own development continues.

Oh, and one more thing — because Sue’s emotional intelligence, confidence and people-management skills have dramatically increased, she’s more likely to take that one strategic risk that has the greater return.

Going for it on 4th down with 2 yards to go. I think Al and Tom should give her a shot.

Competitive advantage gives you the momentum.

Be better and brighter.


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