Keep Leading!® Podcast Episode 017: Measurement Matters

Keep Leading!® Podcast Episode 017: Measurement Matters

Laura Paramoure
President at eParamus, Speaker on Training ROI
Measurement Matters

Episode Summary
How effective are you at what you do for a living? How do you know? Are you measuring your effectiveness? In this episode, Dr. Laura Paramoure and I discuss the reason measurement should matter to all of us as leaders.

Bio
Laura Paramoure, EdD, has more than 25 years of academic and private sector experience in organizational development, performance improvement, and training design and delivery. In addition to completing extensive secondary literature reviews Dr. Paramoure conducted primary research to develop thought leadership on training effectiveness and measurement. Dr. Paramoure is the author of ROI by Design™ (2014); and Perceptions of training and non-training managers of organizational impact measures based on design intent(2001).

Laura completed her Ed.D. at North Carolina State University with major study in Adult Education and a specialization in Organizational Development, a master’s degree in organizational communication from North Carolina State University and a BBA degree in Marketing from Kennesaw State University.

Website
www.eparamus.com

LinkedIn
https://www.linkedin.com/in/laura-paramoure-31019b13/

Twitter
https://twitter.com/eParamusLLC/

Leadership Quote
“You cannot lead if you do not inspire others to follow.”

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Transcript

This podcast is part of the C Suite Radio Network, turning the volume off on business.

Welcome to the Keep Leading Podcast, a podcast dedicated to promoting leadership development and sharing leadership insights. Here’s your host, the Leadership Excelerator, Eddie Turner.

Eddie Turner:
Hello, everyone. This is Eddie Turner, your host for the Keep Leading Podcast, the podcast dedicated to leadership development and insights. How effective are you at what you do for a living? How do you know? Are you measuring your effectiveness? Well, our guest today is going to explain why it’s important for you and I to measure what we do. My guest today is Dr. Laura Paramoure and she’s going to explain why measurement matters and how to take the mystery out of measurement right after this.

This podcast is sponsored by Eddie Turner LLC. Eddie Turner LLC delivers executive and leadership coaching, professional speaking, facilitation services, and management consulting across the globe. Eddie Turner LLC also creates voiceovers, serves as a master of ceremonies, as a panel and event moderator, and provides national media commentary. Visit EddieTurnerLLC.com to learn more.

Eddie Turner:
Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Keep Leading Podcast, the podcast dedicated to leadership development and leadership insights. I’m your host Eddie Turner the Leadership Excelerator. I work with leaders to accelerate performance and drive impact.How effective are you at what you do for a living? How do you know? Are you measuring your effectiveness? Well, my guest today is an organizational development and performance improvement expert. She will explain the reason measurement should matter to us all. I’m delighted to welcome Dr. Laura Paramoure.

Dr. Laura, welcome to the Keep Leading Podcast.

Laura Paramoure:
Thank you, Eddie. I’m excited to be here.
Eddie Turner:
Well, I’m excited to have you. Can you tell us a little bit about your background, Dr. Laura?
Laura Paramoure:
Sure. My background actually started in business. My first career was in Marketing and then as the years progressed and I started getting into more leadership positions, I moved into managing the training departments and the employee development areas. So that moved me into really focusing on how organizations grow based off employee development. It’s been an exciting journey.
Eddie Turner:
It sounds like it. And so you developed a little bit of expertise as a result of your time doing those things. Can you tell us a little bit about what you’re doing today with that expertise?
Laura Paramoure:
Yes. So when I was working as the Director of the L&D Departments in a large organization, I got kind of frustrated thinking about my background in business, I’m not being able to actually measure how the impact that we were having from our department. So when I left that organization, I was kind of at a crossroads thinking “What am I going to do after having built a department and taken it all the way through to the level that I did? I want to do something that really makes a difference.” And so that’s when I conceptualized eParamus and in our organization now we really focus on creating interventions and training programs for employees so that we can develop them and the organization can develop and be successful.
Eddie Turner:
Now you said you became frustrated because there was no way to measure? What did that frustration come from?
Laura Paramoure:
Well, most business people they like to have some feedback as to whether or not the things that they’re doing are effective, right? So moving from Marketing I had some of that and moving into L&D, they didn’t have much of that. Most of their measurement came from employee surveys to find out whether or not they liked the courses. And that just wasn’t strong enough evidence for me.
Eddie Turner:
Just wasn’t strong enough, all right. Now I asked that question because sometimes individuals are just happy performing at work and they feel like they are performing at a high level and they are responding sometimes in part to what I would call anecdotal evidence of kind of how they feel they’re performing or maybe because someone said verbally that “You’re doing a great job. Way to go! Very nice” but you’re talking about putting some numbers around it. Can you tell us what makes it important to really put some numbers around performance or measurements as you stated?
Laura Paramoure:
Well, all of us like feedback, right? And without feedback we have a lack of confidence as to whether or not we’ve achieved something. So all organizational change efforts center around being able to say where we are now and defining where we want to be and then marking ourselves against that. Without measurement or feedback, and some measurement is feedback, without having that, then we can’t really be confident in our decisions and we can’t really be assured that we’re reaching our goal. So it’s vital for all areas, for all employees but mainly for leaders in an organization to be able to have a measurement practice that gives them that feedback so that they can continue to be confident in the decisions that they make.
Eddie Turner:
So all leaders should avail themselves, should seek a way to get numbers, get Measurement for whatever they’re doing. Is that what I hear you say?
Laura Paramoure:
Yeah, absolutely. So you think about leaders, they are really at the forefront of any organizational change. They’re in constant pursuit of developing other leaders and bringing about organizational success. So organizational change and development of people follow the same basic path. In our organization we call it ‘AI Squared’ because it includes things like the four main areas – you kind of analyze your organization, that helps you determine where you want to go, you conceptualize an intervention to improve that situation, and then after that intervention happens you look to see that it’s been applied and that it’s being accepted by the organization, and finally you check back into your metrics that started your journey to see whether those metrics have changed. Without measuring along those different steps it’s difficult for you to know that the decision that you made change to fill this gap has been filled.
Eddie Turner:
Well, should I be concerned about that if I don’t belong to a part of the business that is a quantitative part of the business? Shouldn’t I give that to someone else to worry about the numbers?
Laura Paramoure:
Well, no. I mean, we all use numbers or really measurements every day. We use measurements to determine which way we drive to work, which way is going to be the fastest way for us to get to work. And measurements in every fashion, when we get on the scales in the morning, that is giving us feedback as to whether we should eat more or less that day, right? So if we don’t pay attention to the numbers, that feedback, today you can see it in our health, we’re all getting Fitbits and the Apple watches so that it can give us more information on ourselves so that we can act in a way that reaches the goals that we have for ourselves. So every employee should do it but particularly leaders, because their decisions that they are making and their ability to motivate others to follow their decisions is all going to be based on whether or not they have confidence in that leader. And the confidence in the leader, the employees need it but also the leaders need it, their confidence in themselves and feedback is the way to gain that.
Eddie Turner:
Speaking of the Apple watch, mine is telling me I should stand right now but we’ll ignore that. You’re absolutely right, Dr. Laura. So that’s the point you’re driving. Yes we are collecting data all the time now and in new ways that we never even conceived of before. And so every aspect of our life revolves around data, revolves around measurement. So we absolutely as leaders, to have credibility, must take numbers serious, must take measurements serious.So if I want to do better as a leader and have a framework for how I measure, how can I do that? Do you have a way of helping me?

Laura Paramoure:
Yes certainly but I just want to make the point that it’s not really about the numbers. I mean, of course, measurement turns into numbers. How much something has changed can be quantified but it’s really about doing our jobs as leaders and that we are having a focused process to identify the change and that’s what measurement provides. It’s not necessarily just about the numbers. It’s about the data on the change. So with respect to a model we can follow, it always follows those four steps that I mentioned. So as leaders we assess the organizational health by reviewing metrics in the organization, right? So we look and we see if we are a leader and we have a team that works for us, we’re looking at productivity metrics or error metric or certain metrics that are important in our department. When we look at those metrics, that tells us about the health of our department. And so we react to those metrics. If we have a high number of error, we know “Okay, we need an intervention here. We need something to reduce those errors.” So metrics become a benchmark for us understanding how organization is doing.And once we look at those and we make a determination we need some intervention, then we’ll go in and say “Okay, as leaders we may need to provide training” or “We may need to be able to provide technology or something that we believe will change that gap that we see in our metrics. So that’s where we conceptualize the solutions or the interventions to fill those gaps. And then senior leaders need to clearly define those goals for that intervention. And when they state those goals in business actions, it creates the transparency, establishes trust and kind of enables the achievement of those standards that are identified. So it’s necessary for leaders to first analyze where the organization is, then determine the gaps and create an intervention. Once they’ve created that intervention and let’s just say they do a leadership program and they implement that leadership program, then they have to kind of take a look at the organization and say “Is that organization applying that? Is there an acceptance of those changes?” so that the intervention doesn’t fall flat in the organization because really the value comes in whether the organization changes, right? So the application stage is the point where most leadership initiatives fail. So measuring failure at that stage kind of provides the most information on the organization’s ability and readiness for change.

And finally, if you can get past that application stage, then you revisit the that analysis, those metrics you’re looking for and see whether those metrics changed and the final step is verification that the solutions made the difference in the organization that that leader targeted.

Eddie Turner:
All right. Well, thank you for sharing the framework with us Dr. Laura. So you’re telling us it’s ADAV – They’ve got go in and do an Analysis, Determine the gaps, Application stage and then Verification.
Laura Paramoure:
Right. We use the term ‘AI Squared’ because you’ve got the analysis piece, the intervention … Analysis – A, Intervention – I, Application – A, and then Impact – I. We got lots of words that could go in there but we would just shorten it for AI Squared.
Eddie Turner:
So that’s what you meant by AI Squared earlier. Okay, now we’ve got it.
Laura Paramoure:
Not just artificial intelligence but Artificial Intelligence Squared that puts the human element in there. Every organizational change happens in that progression and measurement plays a key point in knowing whether or not you’re actually making impact. For instance, if I have put an intervention and I can show that that intervention was successful, so my measurement tells me that, that verifies the energies that are put around that intervention were worth it. However, if I put an intervention like a learning program and then they don’t apply it back on the job, then my initiative overall fails because it has to make a change the organization. And where it fails gives me feedback on how I need to repair that failure or remove barriers to success.
Eddie Turner:
Very nice. Thank you for sharing that. And you have written a book on this subject. Do you mind talking about that and sharing the title and how listeners can learn more?
Laura Paramoure:
No, happy to. The name of the book is ROI By Design and essentially the title comes from you achieve an ROI, a return on your investment, really by verifying the design or verifying the outcomes expected from that design. I mean, any time you measure something, you have to have a benchmark for measurement. So ROI By Design is a book that shares with learning professionals how their design of their learning programs can be created so that those expectations for success are clearly identified, business success are clearly identified, and then marked against as it moves through those phases.
Eddie Turner:
Thank you. And you said the name of your company is eParamus. Tell us a little bit about how you came up with that name and what that means?
Laura Paramoure:
eParamus. I know my name is Paramoure. So everybody seems to think it comes from that but that is not where it came from it. It actually is Latin – To Para is to Prepare and ST is to measure, to estimate and measure. So we took a little poetic license and reducing ST to an E because we have some software that supports the learning process and gives you all the measurement and analytics that you need to measure your learning organization. So the E comes from that, the ST. and the Paramus comes from ‘To Prepare’. So it is to prepare and then to measure.
Eddie Turner:
I love it.
Laura Paramoure:
Yeah, that’s where it came from.
Eddie Turner:
Well, wonderful. Thank you for sharing that with us – To Prepare, To Measure.Well, we’re going to prepare to take a break at this time and have a word from our sponsor.

This podcast is sponsored by Eddie Turner LLC. Organizations who need to accelerate the development of their leaders call Eddie Turner, the Leadership Excelerator. Eddie works with leaders to accelerate performance and drive impact. Call Eddie Turner to help your leaders one on one as their coach or to inspire them as a group through the power of facilitation or a keynote address. Visit EddieTurnerLLC.com to learn more.

This Lou diamond from Thrive LOUD with Lou Diamond and you’re listening to the Keep Leading Podcast with Eddie Turner.

Eddie Turner:
We’re back with Dr. Laura Paramoure. She’s an organizational development and performance improvement expert. She’s also the author of ROI By Design and the CEO Of eParamus, which she just told us means ‘To Prepare, To Measure’. I’m so glad you hear what this Dr. Laura.
Laura Paramoure:
I’m excited about having the opportunity to share the message.
Eddie Turner:
So, Dr. Laura, one of the things that you talk about in your work is that you take the mystery out of measurement. And I love that concept because for a lot of people they don’t know what they don’t know. So how do you take the mystery out of measurement?
Laura Paramoure:
Well, Eddie, if you’re talking about the learning industry, it has always struggled with measurement and I think part of it came from technology being limited when measurement was first conceptualized over 50 years ago. Over the period of time, we’ve only measured ourselves by employee feedback. And employee feedback, although is great for getting general ideas about things, it is not a direct measurement of whether or not we’re doing our job and doing it well. So removing the mystery three to me is more about showing people in the profession for sure how we can specifically look at what our design efforts are targeting and whether or not those targets are met. And then we can specifically determine whether or not the organization accepts that learning and makes changes due to that. That’s all within the control of the learning department and that’s our mission is to remove the mystery about what measurement is. It’s really very logical and easy to put into the workflow for learning. So if we could have one thing, it would be to have everyone not fear measurement and to understand that measurement is really something that helps us in our profession and provides our business leaders with the data that they need to make informed decisions.
Eddie Turner:
Wonderful. Now, how have you seen the use of measurement data transform organizations?
Laura Paramoure:
I’ve seen it in many, many different ways. I’ll give you one example which I’m sure will resonate. We worked with a company that’s in the oil and gas industry in the Middle East. And typically in that region the leaderships are very hierarchical with a clear distinction between leaders and followers. So sharing the method of a model, in their analysis, the first step, the leaders determined they wanted to share the culture of the organizations towards employees having more autonomy, accountability, and kind of embracing innovation because in that culture that’s not something that they normally do. The leaders were feeling like they needed to make that shift to enable their ability to compete in the growing kind of world industry of oil and gas to really compete. So they looked at the organization and said “In order for us to meet the industry where it is and where we’re seeing it going, we need to enable our leaders to have some of that accountability and to embrace innovation.” They looked at some of their metrics and they said “We feel like if we were able to do this, we could increase productivity, we could reduce errors because people would be willing to speak up, and then they would be more willing to provide innovation.”So they were looking at metrics around productivity, errors, and innovation. So what they did was the intervention they determined, the main one was to create a culture change that was extensive to leadership development through coaching. So they wanted to create a shift starting with the development of new leaders in the organization. They had already decided that they needed to have an employee development through coaching but this was a new group of leaders coming through and they were going to impart this new methodologies, new culture shift into their training. So the leadership coach identified kind of key leadership skills and the behavior indicators that would verify achievement of those skills. And he worked with each one of those leaders to acquire the mindset of a leader and to kind of master the actions of the leader. You being very familiar with coaching, you realize that they go in and they support those leaders as they’re moving through those phases. The objectives and the measurements that they used in the leadership program were shared with all the participants.

So, in other words, they said “To be a leader, this is kind of the mindset of a leader. These are the things that leaders do and this is what it looks like when they do it.” So that kind of provided them with a clear definition of expectations and then kind of gave them confidence when those expectations were met. So you can view this in a measurement perspective of the measurement of preparing, you were preparing what that measurement was on the frontend so that when you put that intervention in, everyone was able to get on board to be able to make the change. You can imagine that a lot of times when you take learning course or you’re trying any development program, sometimes they’ll say “You go and you need to have better communication.” That’s great. We kind of all go in there and we get a lot of conversation about what communication is and how you should share it, etc. And we come out of a learning course and we go “Okay, that was all great information but what does that look like in my job?”

So in this process they were giving really clear definitions of what those leadership behaviors are and supporting them in feeling confident in those. So when they moved on to the acceptance side or the application side, once a coach was satisfied that the leaders had acquired those behaviors, then they went in and reviewed the progress of the leaders to see if the job environment was supportive of the new methods that they were using. And when they investigated this, they uncovered things within the organization outside of participant’s ability that inhibit that culture shift and the new leadership methods that were employed. For instance, one of the things they discovered was the managers of the new leaders, not the new leaders who went through the program but the managers of the new leaders, they were prohibiting the use of those new leadership methods. So you can imagine if you go in and you teach middle managers, the kind of new leaders, how to be more less punitive with their people and be able to ask them to be more innovative and support innovation, if the managers above them are not supporting that, then it wouldn’t be applied very well, right?

Eddie Turner:
Right.
Laura Paramoure:
So, when they were checking for the acceptance of the application in the organization, that’s one of the things they found. So that enabled the senior leaders to go in and address that with the leaders that were creating that barrier to application.And then finally after they could see the application phase was completed, they went in and looked at the impact that they had. So the senior leaders kind of went back and reviewed the targeted metrics to determine if the changes to leaders had really had the expected change in the organizational metrics. They discovered the targeted productivity and the error metrics from the departments of the new leaders showed improvement over the other departments. However, the innovation metric did not show improvement. So the measurement itself showing whether those behaviors were being applied gave us indication is to we knew that the intervention happened, that the application happened and then we could see which of the metrics were impacted by that application. The innovation metric wasn’t impacted even when the leaders had made all those changes. And so what they learned when they investigated on that was that employees working for the new leaders were still hesitant to make suggestions regardless of the way the new leaders were treating them because they didn’t want to make improvements or innovations because they had that ingrained culture and fear of failure. So that was completely outside of the control of their managers. The managers were still providing the environment that the coach had requested but the employees still had the fear, so they didn’t make the change. So getting that data helped identify other areas where development was needed. When they got that feedback, they decided to reinforce the necessary shift in the employees by instituting a merit-based compensation and employee recognition program.

So you can see how each one of those phases they learned something by measuring at each one of those steps and they’re measuring the same thing, they’re measuring the intended results as it moves through the intervention phase, the application phase, and then finally the impact phase. And that measurement gave them the confidence to make decisions to improve the results but also to determine whether or not the initiatives they put in actually made the impact that they had expected.

Eddie Turner:
That sounds fantastic. Thank you for sharing that real-time story with us because number one, it shows also that your framework and what you’re doing is having a global impact. And so I love hearing that but I love how you worked your framework that you described earlier into what you delivered there for your client. And then the point that you made that is so critical is that people weren’t just assuming that just because we did some training or just because we brought in coaches that everything was fixed, everything is working. You actually measured that, got verification about what was or wasn’t, and then you were able to recalibrate and go back and make sure that you’ve delivered a true holistic solution that is transforming the organization.
Laura Paramoure:
Yes. And just from that story you can see how measurement’s ingrained in everything we do. So we shouldn’t fear measurement. We should actually really embrace measurement as much as possible. And in order to do that, we have to kind of own our intervention, right? We have to be able to say “This is the intervention that we’re doing and this is the measurement of success of that intervention.” So in the learning space particularly instead of saying that “I attended the class” or “I learned something about communications,” I’m going to specifically translate that into “When I leave this program, what am I going to be able to do differently?” and then track first, whether or not I have the knowledge in the ability to do it and second, whether or not the environment will allow me to do it and whether that will stick and stay in the organization long enough to make a difference in how the organization succeeds.
Eddie Turner:
Well, thank you very much.Now, I would say that if I were to put all together, Dr. Laura, what I’m hearing you say as we should actually think about measuring the impact of business no matter what role we are in a business and that it is doable and that it’s vital for every professional in every profession.

Laura Paramoure:
Absolutely. That was a great summary.
Eddie Turner:
Well, thank you for giving me something to summarize and sharing all of your insights with us today.Well, on the Keep Leading Podcast we Want to make sure we give leaders something to think about in addition to everything you just shared with us, a short quote or short story that they can use to keep leading. What would you share with our leaders who are listening to us today?

Laura Paramoure:
Well, if I had to share one thing, I would probably share that “You cannot lead if you do not inspire others to follow.”
Eddie Turner:
I like that. Thank you. “You cannot lead if you do not inspire others to follow.”Where can people learn more about you, Dr. Laura?

Laura Paramoure:
They can learn about the company through our www.eParamus.com. And we are on all the social medias. That website will lead you to some of the other social media outlets that we have with case studies that will explain all the different areas about measurement. And you can also pick up the book on Amazon.
Eddie Turner:
Fantastic. Well, all of that will be in the show notes. So if you’re driving and doing other things, don’t worry about it. On your mobile device you’ll see it right there on your show notes or on the computer. We want to definitely make sure that you get connected to Dr. Laura and to eParamus.Dr. Laura, thank you again for being a guest on the Keep Leading Podcast today.

Laura Paramoure:
It is my pleasure. Thank you, Eddie.
Eddie Turner:
Well, that concludes this episode, everyone. I’m Eddie Turner, the Leadership Excelerator, reminding you that leadership is not about our title or our position. Leadership is an activity. Leadership is action. It’s not the case of once a leader, always a leader. It’s not a garment we put on and take off. We must be a leader at our core and allow it to emanate in all we do. So, whatever you’re doing, always keep leading.

Thank you for listening to your host Eddie Turner on The Keep Leading Podcast. Please remember to subscribe to The Keep Leading Podcast on iTunes or wherever you listen. For more information about Eddie Turner’s work please visit EddieTurnerLLC.com.

Thank you for listening to C Suite Radio, turning the volume up on business.

The Keep Leading!™ podcast is for people passionate about leadership. It is dedicated to leadership development and insights. Join your host Eddie Turner, The Leadership Excelerator® as he speaks with accomplished leaders and people of influence across the globe as they share their journey to leadership excellence. Listen as they share leadership strategies, techniques and insights. For more information visit eddieturnerllc.com or follow Eddie Turner on Twitter and Instagram at @eddieturnerjr. Like Eddie Turner LLC on Facebook. Connect with Eddie Turner on LinkedIn.