“I am building a fire, and every day I train, I add more fuel.”— Mia Hamm

When preparing a proposal for an investment, such as coaching, training, or new tools, there are some critical questions that must be asked:

  • How will the investment help the organization in the short term and the long term
  • What tangible improvements will the investment bring?

Ask these questions when making a proposal to the person with the checkbook. Get these questions answered even if the idea is yours and you have control of the checkbook.

This post continues the focus on ensuring your organization is making investments that return great value. In my previous post, Why Invest $ in Training, Coaching, & Making Leaders Better?, I proposed five key steps.

This post is an elaboration on step #2, A Focus On Value. In it, I gave an example of a team leader justifying the investing in computer language training with this phrase:

“The python training will show us how to use advanced methods for better data dictionaries.” 

The training was denied.

Consider this alternative approach which more clearly states why the investment is important to the person with the checkbook.

If management cares about speed to market, and most do, this is a much more compelling argument and almost certainly funded. Here are three critical items to examine when considering coaching, training, and other investments.

“The python language training will improve our speed to delivering content to our customers by between 30 and 50%.

The majority of our applications are using more complex databases than ever before.

This training by a leading expert will provide us with the skills to move our products faster to the marketplace.”

If management cares about speed to market, and most do, this is a much more compelling argument and almost certainly funded. Here are three critical items to examine when considering coaching, training, and other investments.

  • Objectives?
  • How broad of an impact will this investment have on the value we are delivering to our customers?  How many people and teams does this investment help?
  • How will this improvement yield benefits year over year?

When I learned to base all my investments on answers to these questions, something very exciting happened.  When I knew why I made the investment and what I expected from it, I ensured that I got those results.  For example, I went into the training or coaching with a clear vision, and I held the experts I hired accountable to get the results I needed.

To paraphrase Mia Hamm, I am building a fire of value for my customers. Every investment must add a log to the flames.

Next week I explore the next step, “ensure it is highly recommended”.  I will answer the question, “How do I know the expert I am hiring is worth it?”

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,


Alan Willett

Are you ready to do exceptional leadership in technology development?  Learn about the Exceptional Difference programs here.

Exceptional Difference graduates have improved their speed to value in the following ways:

  • Improved team productivity by 5x.
  • Improved the quality of delivery to customers by 4x.
  • Improved the speed of onboarding new team members to be productive by 6x.

Contact [email protected] to learn more.

Photo by Jungwoo Hong on Unsplash

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