The Power of Buy-in: Why Gaining Leadership Support is About More Than Just Approval or Funding

January 15, 2024

Are you still finding it tricky to get backing from leaders for your learning and performance initiatives? You’re not alone. It’s a common challenge, but the good news is that getting buy-in from senior leaders and stakeholders doesn’t have to remain a mystery. Let’s look at some practical tips to help you get the backing you need to make your training and development programs shine!

The Importance of Senior Leadership Buy-in

Getting buy-in from senior leaders and stakeholders is a common hurdle in the world of training and development. According to the Kirkpatrick definition, buy-in isn’t just about approval or funding – it’s about getting active participation and support from senior leaders. That means championing success, addressing underperformance, and clearing away any roadblocks to progress. Without this active involvement, the impact of training initiatives may be limited. That’s why it’s important to get both senior leaders and line managers on board for post-training support and accountability. And don’t forget the middle managers – they play a key role in rallying the troops and making sure everything runs smoothly on the ground. 

Understanding Senior Leaders’ Expectations

Senior leaders and line managers aren’t easily convinced by training or upskilling alone; they want to see a clear link between these efforts and our business goals and mission. We have to showcase how learning and development can help us achieve our strategic results. Learning professionals do this by sharing success stories and data that prove the real impact of training. But it’s not just about showing off the numbers; ongoing communication and collaboration with our senior leaders are key. By understanding their challenges, opportunities, and dreams, learning professionals build trust and get valuable insights into how they can provide the most meaningful support. 

The Power of Proactivity and Communication

A key to getting support from senior leaders is being proactive. It’s up to learning professionals to share specific ways others can help them out. When someone asks, “How can I help?” having a well-prepared response shows real dedication to success. This step is often overlooked, but it can be a game-changer. It’s crucial to think about the support needed and let others know about it. Support can come in various forms, like chatting with and cheering on training participants, celebrating those who do great, breaking down barriers, and offering scripts or ideas to make support easier. At Kirkpatrick Partners, you’ll find useful resources for scripting and support to make sure we’re all on the same page for success.

The Journey from Approval to Impact

The ultimate goal is for senior leaders to recognize the ongoing value of learning and development in achieving organizational goals. And when senior leaders say things like, “You are not who I thought you were!” it can be incredibly gratifying because this means they see the real impact of our learning initiatives and appreciate the value they bring to the whole organization.

In the end, getting buy-in from senior leaders is about being proactive, communicating openly, and building relationships. Learning professionals must be ready to share what they need and get support from others. That way, it’s not just about getting approval or funds; it’s about making a real and lasting impact, shaping a culture of learning that sticks to your organization for the long run.

Excited to learn more? Check out the latest episode of The Kirkpatrick Podcast, where hosts Vanessa Alzate and Jim Kirkpatrick chat about how you can get the most out of your learning investments. 

It’s a must-listen for anyone looking to make a genuine impact on their organization through top-notch training and development practices!

Listen or watch the latest episode here:

Remember, the real magic happens when we fine-tune how we apply training and get results. When we build a culture of trust, engagement, and continuous improvement, we give our training programs a better shot at success.

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