We wanted an instant, highly visible indicator of success right out of the gate once the project was accepted in order to prove our commitment to the initiative and our ability to achieve our goals. To do this, our team bought a library of 300 off-the-shelf training courses from Smart Force, because the company met all of our criteria for a self-paced e-learning solution provider. The courses covered primarily soft skills and IT training because that was what was available at the time in an off-the-shelf format, and the company needed that training.
We bought the entire package before we secured commitment for the project. The courses were loaded and ready to go on the server when we presented our business case to executive management. It was a risky step, but it had the potential for enormous reward. If the project was accepted, we had the capability to flip a switch the moment we received buy-in, and within minutes we could achieve our Year One goal of converting 30 percent of the curriculum to computer-based formats. It would be the home-run success we needed to launch the program. And it gave us two years to work on our Year Two goal of converting another 20 percent of the curriculum to computer-based formats. We knew this goal would be harder to achieve because those courses required custom content unique to Rockwell Collins and couldn't be bought off the shelf. The extra time would allow us to continue to meet established goals successfully and well ahead of schedule. We also needed the savings achieved through this simple step in order to fund our next steps.
There was a downside to this plan, however. If the project hadn't been accepted, we would have had a tough time explaining what we'd done with the annual training budget that was spent on these courses and the hardware to support them. As a team, we acknowledged the risks and value associated with the decisions and had our resum s updated and ready in case the whole thing fell through.
Have defined each element of your strategic plan. For every core objective, you must make the case for why it's important and how you intend to achieve it.
Have written an action-item list that breaks down the details of your core objectives. Each objective requires a set of actions you intend to take in order to achieve that goal. The more detailed you can be, the more accurate your budget and timelines will be.
Have calculated the cost and impact of the project. No matter how much anecdotal evidence you have, the strongest selling point of the strategic plan will be your numbers . Break down the time and costs associated with each element of the plan and what you expect to spend or save as a result of your changes. This data will be critical when you attempt to sell the project.