Summary: You will most likely have to present your training vision and strategy to your executive sponsor and possibly to a financial executive, as well. Let’s examine some ways to effectively present your vision and strategy for 2018.
If you’ve taken the time to create your vision and strategy for 2018 as well as an execution plan, you should also take the time to plan how to present these components effectively. The presentation of your vision and strategy may be a cursory nod from a fellow executive or it could be an approval process from an executive sponsor. Plus, if you need financing you will most likely have to go before the financial officer or executive. There are two different focuses here: business and finance. For business, you will need to be able to explain how the training department will support the organization and its initiatives for 2018, as well as continue to support your best customers. In the financial realm, you should be able to show how any expense on training will benefit the bottom line. But how you present these items depends on the personalities and functions of the people to whom you are presenting.
If you’ve done your homework, your executive sponsor should be the easiest to persuade in terms of your vision and strategy for 2018. With this person, focus first on the assessment you’ve made of the organization, its industry, and your best customers. There is no need to go into detail about your assessment of training industry trends unless you are asked. Help your sponsor understand that everything you are presenting has a business purpose and can support the organization in the upcoming year. But on top of this, pick out some of the elements of your vision and strategy that may have a longer-lasting effect. For example, if you are using web technology to deliver sales training, consider how this innovation can change training in the next two or three years. Your task is to show that innovation goes beyond a reactive need. Remember that your executive sponsor is probably going to be your advocate – a cheerleader for the training cause. So be sure to answer all of his or her questions clearly and with a business purpose.
Explain your execution plan and also point out the areas in which you are saving time or money.
Let’s say you’ve decide to “insource,” that is, change existing employees’ skill sets to match the new strategy. Point this out and explain that it saves a hire and a learning curve, and that it encourages retention of your best staff members. Once your sponsor is on board, you’ll need to move into the financial area.
As you probably know, some American organizations are sitting on a mountain of cash as the economy improves. Most are interested in insulating themselves from another recession, so convincing a financial officer to spend money on training will be difficult. The main idea to remember is to frame all of your requests in a financial standpoint. Obviously you’ll have to explain the cost of each item, but each item should also have a potential pay back. In addition, each item should, in some way, support the organization and its overall goals.
We’ve already discussed alternatives in your vision and strategy for 2018, but you must decide how to use them. For example, if your executive sponsor or financial officer is always interested in innovation, you may simply want to present the ideas that are the most innovative, regardless of cost. Then, if you are asked about alternatives, you can present them. But if your executives are the types that appreciate options, you’ll need to present all of them for each initiative. The key when presenting options is to focus on what you and your department can do and not what they “can’t do.”
In other words, explain that option one allows X result, option two allows X result, and option three allows X result. And each result should be tied to an organizational initiative and goal. The benefit of presenting options is that it shows you are flexible and able to work within the confines of a given situation. When the economy continues to improve, your decision makers will probably be more likely to give you exactly the financing you need if you prove your flexibility.
After your vision and strategy for 2018 are approved, remember to keep in contact with your clients, to use your business plan as a guide and a reality check, and to closely manage human resources for execution.
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