Join Ajay Pangarkar for an in-depth discussion in this video Strategic management expectations, part of Gaining Internal Buy-In for Elearning Training.
- We've all been there. You have a great learning initiative and want to share it with the organization. The one thing you need is senior leadership support. So you quickly pitch your great initiative to the decision-makers, and they say something like, "What is this going to cost us?" "How will it help achieve our objectives?" Or the dreaded, "We don't have the money." You're stunned, and you don't have any answers. Naturally, getting leadership support is essential, but that's not easy.
Here are some steps to get them onside. First, know your initiative. This sounds obvious, but many practitioners don't really know what they want to accomplish. The key is highlighting the necessity of a new proposal and being clear about what you're proposing. For example, you should know, why this course is important and the expected results. Who will be developing the course. How long will it take to develop? How long the course will be.
What resources will you require? And finally, the costs. Second, know your audience. Learning initiatives impact many operational areas that affect various decision-makers. Know who they are, their roles, and know their pain points. Then position your solution from their perspective. For example, let's say your training initiative aims to increase production. The director of operation will want to know specifically how much training will increase the production output.
This may result in the organization needing to hire more people. Therefore, the HR partner would want to know new hire targets. Third, show the budget. Management has budgetary demands from many business areas, so prepare your financial proposal before approaching them. For example, if you're suggesting setting up an e-learning course to mobilize the sales team, show them where the funding is coming from. Think through the costs of all the elements, such as purchasing the hardware, software, and the developmental time.
Financially translate how getting the sales team to learn on the road, will help increase sales in the long run. Senior managers are more likely to support something when a financial plan is in place and you show them how the money will benefit the activity. Fourth, offer choices. You're more likely to gain support if management contributes to the decision. Demonstrate a variety of viable options for your learning proposal, and allow them to make suggestions.
For example, if you develop a learning initiative to onboard new employees, provide options such as, a standard course, online orientations, simulated activities, or having a subject expert mentor. Leaders will feel they have control in their interest, and may not challenge you if it doesn't work out. Fifth, align with goals. Senior management are under pressure to meet a set of goals and objectives. Show them how your learning effort contribute to helping them achieve qualitative and, possibly, financial performance outcomes.
I call this the common thread because you're making mindful connections about how your efforts will benefit them and achieve the organization's objectives. A mentor once taught me, "Sell people what they want to buy, "not what you want to sell." Follow these five approaches and you'll be on track to selling what they want to buy, and gaining their leadership support.
- Defining learning as a business activity
- Identifying the three primary stakeholders
- Answering questions from stakeholders
- Addressing operational concerns
- Leveraging RADAR to support elearning
- Overcoming challenges