From the previous blogs, several very important principles emerge. First, there is the notion that process improvement permeates the eight steps. When the desired results are measured and defined on the different levels of outcomes, disappointment sometimes surfaces. Changes have to be made. This is an opportunity for process improvement. If the desired results are not delivered, adjustments are made at steps four, five, and six to ensure that the results are delivered with the next group. This is process improvement.
The second principle is that a few programs should be evaluated all the way to ROI to show executives that learning is a good investment. When learning actually produces a positive ROI for a major expenditure, very important stakeholders (the executives) get very excited.
The third principle is a concern that top executives perceive learning as a cost to the organization, not as an investment. Most executives will quickly say that learning is an investment, but their actions show that it’s a cost, as learning is one of the first budgets to be cut. If we can show that learning actually produces a positive ROI, then it clarifies the issue—learning is an investment following the normal accounting processes. Maybe instead of cutting funding, it should be enhanced. This process drives this connection. Evaluation leads to optimization, which leads to allocation of funding.
The fourth principle is that you can help your funders of talent development to decide how to invest their money. You may need more budget, or certainly, you don’t want to lose what you have now. This is the best way to receive more. If learning is delivering a positive return, maybe executives should invest more. It’s a logical argument and one that can radically change not only the budget for talent development, but the support that you enjoy, and the influence that you need.
For a deeper dive on how to use design thinking to deliver business results and increase the investment in talent development, check out our new book, The Business Case for Learning.