One of the keys to a successful training program, and possibly the most important, is having leadership buy-in from the top down. Having leadership support helps drive the importance of a program, assist with accountability and establish appropriate expectations.
Establishing leadership buy-in might not be easy to do, depending upon your level in the organization and your existing relationship with the leader. Here are 10 keys to success that you can follow to help you through the process.
1. Know your leaders
This goes beyond knowing who to target. There are things you need to know about the person you are seeking support from. Get to know their personality – this can help you determine the best or most appropriate approach to take.
Your presentation will also be important to consider in this process based on how your leader likes to receive information. For example, do they prefer charts and graphs, detailed information to pour through or simply numbers? Identifying these upfront will ease your mind, but also allow your leader to be more receptive to the information you’re sharing.
2. Identify above or bottom line indicators
It is important to plan and review numbers in advance. Be able to identify if the program you are proposing will make the company money or save the company money. Sharing this type of high-level data shows you’ve done your homework and really put pen to paper. This will tell your leader “what’s in it for them.”
3. Identify the strategy
Your approach to training must be aligned with the business, and this must be shared with your leadership team. Mutual buy-in must occur. If you are not informed on your company’s strategy, this is your starting place.
Tying a training program to a business objective, goal or challenge will identify you as a problem solver that can generate results. Make sure you develop goals and metrics for your training program before presenting it to leadership. Doing this work beforehand shows how serious you are about using training and development to impact the bottom line.
4. Clarify the problems
Take time to anticipate questions or concerns in advance of your meetings. Practice your presentation with others for validation. Be able to address any anticipated concerns as a part of your presentation. This will represent forward thinking and minimize work after the fact.
5. Make time to show the solution
Be prepared to show or demo the solution. Be cautious however, to only demo when the timing is right. Don’t allow a solution or product to sell itself, even if you are sold on it. Allow your research and data to drive the presentation. Consider also including case studies or referrals as a part of the solution showcase.
6. Demonstrate thought behind the scenes
Regardless of the type of leader you are working with, some level of detail will be necessary. This is the time for you to share your plans for the training program. Be able to discuss what the implementation process would involve, resources necessary along with the timelines involved. In your planning, having a 12-month outline would be helpful.
7. Show collaborative effort.
Show that you’re not working in a silo. Take time to share your plans and ideas with others in the organization. Identify who all the primary stakeholders are along with what level of support will be required. Evaluate each department and build an internal support team.
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8. Build an accountability plan
Part of the discussion should include overall expectations. It is important to agree upon an accountability strategy for when the program is communicated out into the organization. Building an overall marketing plan is critical to a programs’ ongoing success.
Allow the leader to participate and contribute their ideas here, based on the culture of the company. Will there be a carrot or stick mentality, and how will either be enforced? Tweet this tip!
9. Consider timing
When approaching a leader for buy-in or support, timing can be everything. Be conscious of budgeting processes and business dependencies. It is important to be up to speed on what is happening at the macro level to ensure your proposal is not conflicting.
10. Last but not least, be invested
Be certain to show enthusiasm, focus and credibility. Recognize that you are the champion and communicate that you’re prepared to take responsibility and own successes and failures. Firmly express that you’re willing and ready to do what it takes.
Leadership buy-in within your organization can be your biggest support system. This step cannot be missed, which is why at BizLibrary, our Client Success team works directly with clients to share best practices or work directly with Executives to ensure buy-in is not only present but visible and ongoing.