There is only one training metric that matters: the person responsible for the training program gets promoted.
Any other metric, be it smilesheets or increased organizational productivity, or stock price, is only ammunition.
Now, clearly we need to tap into pure research. We need to pilot. But there are at least three reasons why this is the critical metric.
1. You can't do any good if you are fired.
2. Your clients, be they sales teams or management, live in a world of results. That is the language they speak, and you are too removed from them if you are not speaking this language.
3. Getting yourself promoted is the ultimate form of accountability. I have known too many people who called themselves "purists" or "in it for the good of other people" or "researchers" or "visionaries" or "business partners" or who like to shake their fists at the gods, saying of everyone else that "they just don't get it" or "they are part of the old model," who really just soft-talked themselves out of sweating out the details, worrying about the repeated, incrementally improved implementations and delivering real value.
Finally, selfishly, I wear two hats, one as consultant, and one as simulation vendor. In either case, I don't want the email from someone who says, "You get it. I get it. Simulations are cool." I want the email from someone says, "I think you can help me become a senior vice president."