A Never-Ending Process
The CEO meeting ended the first phase of our business-case road show, but the show was far from over. Even though we'd gotten the approval of management, we had to continue communicating our efforts. We've delivered that presentation hundreds of times in the past four years , because, as we've said before, corporate memory can be very short.
Your job is to sell this project while your staff implements it. This ensures that the corporation never forgets what you are doing and why and is constantly made aware of how far you've come.
The first phase of the business-case delivery was the enterprise version. After we met with all of the leaders , got the buy-in, and launched the initial implementation of the project, we went back to them to talk about tactics. We customized the business case to address the specific problems that many executives had brought up in the initial business-case presentations. We also spent time with individual managers within the business units to focus on their specific needs, which lay outside of the overall enterprise solution, and to craft custom approaches to their specific training needs.
Later, when our team made significant strides in the project, such as achieving a yearly goal, we brought the business case back to our core supporters to tell them again what our team was doing and what it had accomplished. We wanted to be sure they knew that our team was still on track and saving them money.
We also pull the business case out whenever we find a group of Rockwell Collins employees who aren't using the system to its fullest capacity. When the usability numbers gleaned from the learning-management system reports show that a unit isn't taking advantage of our system, we go to them. Typically, we spend two days pitching the project and the potential impact it could have on the group. First we meet with every mid-level manager in that unit and one after another we show them what we've done. We present statistics from our cultural research and show direct comparisons between the old system, which they obstinately cling to, and the successes we've had in other units that are taking advantage of the new learning process. We take them online and walk them through courses, give them promotional materials, and target learning goals that can easily be accomplished if they avail themselves of our tools. We point out to them that the system is live, they along with the enterprise have already paid for it, and by sending employees to outside classroom training they are basically paying twice for the same solution.
Every time we deliver this case, the activity level in that unit jumps the following month. It's an endless process, but by taking the show on the road we ensure that the company is taking the fullest advantage possible of our training. We are making sure that Rockwell Collins maintains its status as a learning organization.
Have crafted an elegant presentation around your written business case. This presentation is the main thing executives will use in deciding whether or not to support your project. Captivate them with your compelling stories and powerful statistics.
Have tested your business case out on some friendly nontrainers. As always, impartial feedback from someone outside the training department will give you valuable insight into your delivery, vocabulary, and tone. This feedback will help you tweak the final production before you turn it loose on the executive team.
Have delivered your customizable presentation to executives, managers, and employee focus groups. Every group will have different interests and varying attention spans . Pay attention to the "what's in it for me" factor to make the most of their time and yours.