Change is hard. No matter how much a person, or organization, claims to embrace change, it always takes some convincing. Even when you are making improvements and upgrading systems and processes, there is a tendency to cling on to the old, familiar ways of doing things. So, as you prepare to either upgrade your training program, or implement a brand new one you have to consider how to get the necessary management support.
Jump-start the process by following these three steps:
1. Sell the value
In order to change people have to be convinced that it is in their best interests. By helping your managers see the benefits on online learning, you are one step closer to getting the project approved. This is probably one of the easier parts of the process since the benefits online learning brings to an organization range from increased productivity to cost savings and enhanced revenues. In fact, the benefits of online learning are so numerous that we’ll cover them separately in next week’s post.
2. Build a compelling case
To motivate change it’s not enough to spout facts about the benefits of online education and training. You have to show why your existing systems or processes are unsatisfactory, and how the changes you propose can solve that. Here’s one way you can structure your arguments:
- Describe the problem & provide background: In a short paragraph or two outline the issues or problems that need to be solved.
- Explain the solution: Present your objectives or proposed solutions in short bullet points.
- Define the scope: Identify organizational processes that may be affected. In addition to your department, there might be other departments or outside partners that may be involved or affected once the project starts. Succinctly describe how these other departments will be impacted.
- List requirements: List all the resources, from staff to software, needed to complete the project.
- Provide alternatives: If you don’t mention them, someone will. List out a couple of alternatives to your plans, and briefly compare and contrast each option.
- Identify the success factors: Explain how your proposal promotes the success factors your organization values. This where you would provide ROI metrics and additional supporting information.
3. Present your case strategically
What you say is as important as how you say it. When making your case to different individuals it pays to consider the following.
- Keep it simple. Try to make your case without descending into the alphabet soup and technical jargon that can confuse first time listeners.
- Know your audience and understand what motivates them. While you all have the joint goal of growing the business, each department goes about that in a different way. Consider their responsibilities and pain points. By understanding what your audience really cares about, and aligning your case to their goals you will find them to be much more supportive.
- Expect a series of conversations, and use them to solidify your case. People will have questions that you can’t answer on the spot, others may want you to gather more facts or may have questions about system features. Think of each interaction as another chance to highlight the value of the changes you are recommending.
Ultimately, your goal is to get everyone excited about and committed to the changes you are advocating.