Talent Development 28 Data and Analytics

Section 3.7 in the CPTD Certification program for ATD is Data and Analytics. Section C reads, “Skill in analyzing and interpreting results of data analysis to identify patterns, trends, and relationships among variables.”

In this brief article, I will share the tools I use to help leaders understand their performance in terms of where additional development work would produce the most significant forward momentum.

Leadergrow Advanced Leadership Assessment

Before designing a leadership development program for an organization, it is essential to do some research on where the current capabilities strong or weak. I will describe a typical process to obtain and analyze these data. Recognize that each situation is unique, so various other methods could be used in specific circumstances.

Let’s suppose we have a large organization comprised of ten departments. The senior leader wants to upgrade the performance of the entire company, so she calls me in to provide some training. The first order of business is to obtain some data by area relative to how effective each leader is.

There may be some extant data, such as quality of work life surveys or blockage surveys. Turnover or other HR data such as grievance reports may be available. All these should be reviewed as part of the data set.

I often use a 360-degree leadership effectiveness survey to assess the quality of each leader on 20 different dimensions.

Dimensions of Leadership Measured

1. Builds an environment of trust
2. Builds an equitable and inclusive culture that produces excellent results
3. Ability to be genuine and connect well with people at all levels
4. Is firm but fair; does not play favorites
5. Publicly admits mistakes; demonstrates humility
6. Leads by example
7. Demonstrates consistent integrity
8. Listens deeply
9. Allows people to give their input without fear
10. Negotiates and advocates well
11. Operates as a level five leader; passionate but humble
12. Makes good decisions and demonstrates business acumen
13. Builds a reinforcing culture
14. Communicates well with people and groups
15. Calms stressful conditions and diffuses explosive situations
16. Manages personnel development
17. Generates passion within people
18. Develops others
19. Reduces the credibility gap between workers and management
20. Builds a “safe” environment: both physical and psychological safety

Analysis of the data

My survey asks five questions in each of the 20 dimensions, giving me 100 data points for each person who does the survey. Each person rates the 100 questions on a scale of 1 (does not display) to 5 (is a champion on this dimension).

I analyze each leader looking at four demographic levels; self, superiors, subordinates, and peers. I provide a tabulated form for each leader using a color-coded format that allows each person the ability to spot areas of particularly strong or weak performance. I do this by calculating the mean and standard deviation for each of the 100 questions. I also look at the covariation by level to see if there is a bias there.

Each leader, and the overall leader, has a quick way to determine the level of development that is required by the individual leader or perhaps, as is often the case, for the whole population of leaders.

Then I design development programs to address the areas that need improvement and further refine areas of strength.

Path forward

I often repeat the survey two or three years later to see if the development programs have had the desired impact. Also, sometimes a particular leader will call me back in to measure progress in his or her area.


It is important to use robust processes when evaluating the effectiveness of leaders prior to conducting an improvement program.


Bob Whipple, MBA, CPTD, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust. He is the author of: The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online, Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind, and Trust in Transition: Navigating Organizational Change. Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations.

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