Close the Deal

The last section of the document outlines what you need from your audience in order to make your project happen. If you are going to put the effort into building and delivering this presentation, be prepared to close the deal. That means actively asking for support, not just assuming that it will be forthcoming. Don't limit your request to your budget requirements; ask your audience for a verbal commitment of support to making the project happen.

We closed our presentation with a list of the five decision and support requirements we expected from our audience:

  1. Validation of the business drivers. We wanted the audience to agree that training is a critical contributor to the success of the organization and that our assumptions about the ROI of alternative learning were accurate.

  2. Agreement with our strategic plan. We asked our audience if they believed that our proposal made solid business sense.

  3. Approval of the budget. Assuming management believed in our plan, we expected them to agree to our budget request.

  4. Agreement to charter the global learning council. Because the audience for this business case would assign the appropriate representative membership of the global council, we wanted their verbal commitment to participate in and/or elect members to the board.

  5. Support the implementation. We asked our audience to commit to being supportive of the program by promoting roll-outs and participating in learning pilots. Their active role in the project was critical to its success because it would show employees that management supported the transformation.

By laying out what we wanted, we left nothing to speculation. We wanted our audience, after hearing our proposal, to give us their support ”before they walked out of the room.

Our final business-case document was more than one hundred pages long. It was filled with easy-to-understand charts , graphics, and facts, all of which tied back to the single critical issue: By implementing this initiative, our team would tie training to the business goals of the company, which would make Rockwell Collins more successful. We never got lost in training jargon or the "learning for learning's sake" mentality . The only way to connect with business leaders is to show them the quantifiable value to the organization. After we delivered this business case to several executives, they told us that ours was one of the best business cases they'd ever seen.

But remember, while this is a great model for building a business case, it's not a business-case template. Every business case comes from individual research. The key is to explore your needs and craft a proposal that directly affects your company's ability to turn itself into a learning organization. If your research is accurate, your assumptions are valid, and your objectives are targeted at the cultural needs and business goals of the company, winning the support of your executive team should be easy to do.

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  1. Have built a work-breakdown structure of tasks and time-lines. You will need this information to map your plan, adhere to budgets , and stick to your timeframe.

  2. Have defined your cost-savings formulas and budget. It's not enough to project your costs; you need to have proof that what you are suggesting will have demonstrable impact on the company's bottom line.

  3. Have named your initiative and developed a marketing plan. Your marketing efforts may be the most important thing you do to ensure that your project doesn't just fly but flourishes. Plan to invest much of your time in the coming years to selling your plan to every business unit, executive, and employee until every one of them is on board.

  4. Have built a tailorable business case. You can't launch the project without buy-in, and every executive will want something slightly different from you. Build a business case with a solid foundation of information that can be altered to address the needs of varying audiences.

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Built to Learn. The Inside Story of How Rockwell Collins Became a True Learning Organization
Built to Learn: The Inside Story of How Rockwell Collins Became a True Learning Organization
ISBN: 0814407722
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 124

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