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Presenting L&D strategy to the board


I will be presenting the learning and development strategy to our executive team in a couple of weeks time. The purpose of this is to get their buy in to the learning plan for this year. Budget allocation has already been agreed, the focus of the presentation is more on how the money will be spent. Their buy in is crucial in championing some of the projects that I am looking at.

Tom Harlow

7 Responses

  1. So much to say . . .
    . . . such little space to say it.

    Hi Tom,
    You’ve put together a strategy for Learning & Development. The strategy probably ties-in a number of development needs. It might involve a variety of media (traditional classroom, on-line, coaching, etc).
    You’ll probably have identified the most urgent development needs for people or teams within your organisation.
    So – how to get the ball rolling, and release the budgets ?
    The best advice I can give is to KNOW your executive audience. Know what worries them, or what excites them. Don’t simply explain the strategy from YOUR perspective. Recognise that each of these people (who may well ALSO have development needs of their own) is responsible for bringing in results through other people.
    And if there’s a yawning chasm between (say) the current customer service skills or the IT support skills, and what they OUGHT to be to ensure business growth, then you have a reasonably clear case just by explaining what is likely to happen to those business units if the company under-invests in those areas.

    Feel free to give me a call or email me if you’d like to take this off-line (I HATE that phrase. Sorry.) and I’ll be happy to help more.

  2. the ‘so what’ factor
    I would imagine that the executive team will want to know what outcomes and impact for each investment. The ‘so what’ factor. Also how will each of the training/learning methods and topic areas impact what they themselves do?

    People will do this course – so what?

    People will be coached – so what?

    What’s the value added? It’s the implementation of the learning that’s important for the company.

    Will managers do any follow up from courses/learning opportunities to find out what difference the opportunity has made to their staffs work/performance/mind set?

    How will you liaise with them to find out the knock on effects????

    Kind Regards,


  3. To the point
    In my experience the best way to deliver this kind of presentation is best delivered when you know what matters to the audience and when you keep it short and to the point.

    Avoid drawn out details just give your intention and the business benefits linked to the benefits your audience want to hear about. Cut out anything “fluffy” unless it’s absolutely essential.

    Good luck too, I’m doing my first presentation to our board in a week or so as well!

  4. L&D Strategy Presentation
    Good luck with this Tom!

    I’d warmly recommend you draw all the straight lines you can between your organisation’s strategic imperatives and your headline solutions, costs and benefits, and ignore ‘processs’ wherever you can – until/unless asked.

    Let me know if you want some suggestions how to do this if you are not sure?

    Best wishes


  5. What keeps them awake?
    I agree with the comments already made. One way of thinking about strategic imperatives is to identify what keeps Exec’s awake at night! It is unlikely to be concerns about the quality of induction, or management development. It might be recruitment and retention of staff, or focusing on the ability of your organisation to respond to competition, customer requirements or legislative & regulatory issues. When talking specific projects – develop the alternative proposal. This is a model for assuming that the board will say yes to the development need and then provide alternative cost profile for ways of achieving the goal. This shows that you have properly thought through the expense, risks and benefits of different approaches. Remember the board always thinks you’ve dreamed up a figure – be prepared to justify it, but – echoing other comments – only when asked. Get overall agreement first.

  6. alternative approach!
    Once again I echo the comments of others on this subject….present to the needs of the audience, etc. etc.
    One way I have seen this done very successfully in the past, although it depends on the culture of your business and it does take quite a lot of confidence in your L&D strategy (which I’m assuming you have) and credibility/trust in the eyes of the audience (which again I am assuming is present).
    The way I have seen it done is to use the ‘timeline’ approach – this would take too long to explain in detail, but effectively you explain that, rather than talk at them for ?? minutes, what you are aiming to do is review what it is that they believe they need before outlining how what you aim to deliver will meet those needs. You then get them to focus on a point in the future (if you can get them to physically do this by walking down a timeline on the floor so much the better). You remind them of the vision for the business at this point. You then ask them to imagine they are walking through the doors of the business at this point in the future and get them to describe what they would to see/hear/feel if they have delivered the strategic imperatives currently identified. Once there, they can be encouraged to ‘look back’ on the journey taken to get there (if you are doing this physically thet would turn to look back down the timeline)and consider how the company has made the transition to this point? how it was achieved? what role they played and what support people received? Now that everyone is fully focussed on the success of the business in the future and the part that people have played in that, thay should also be able to see the shift in performance necessary to actually get there. You can then summarise the key L&D initiatives and explain that you will now briefly overview the way your team is going to deliver this.

    Sorry it’s a bit long winded but I thought it would be worth suggesting in case you felt it would work in your instance…drop me a line ([email protected]) if you would like any more info.

    Good luck anyway!

  7. Simplicity
    Hi Tom-
    I agree with all that has been said. My suggestion (apologise if you’ve already thought of this one!) is to create a simple “traceability matrix” which will help you to answer the “so what’s”, but will also show the vivid tie-in to the overall business strategy.

    A large part of your presentation presumably will circle back to the overall Biz Strategy and show them how L&D will help them achieve their core objectives. If the board’s focus is purely a cost focus, present the overall RoP (Return on People) or RoI, then, present them with high level projections, but not too detailed! (e.g. if we do this, then, the results over the next year, two years, five years is this) Again, connecting all through the use of a traceability matrix-so the direct correlation is visualised!
    Let me know if you need any further clarification,
    Rosemary Sutton


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