Most companies are either knee-deep in the budgeting process for 2012 or will be soon. My suggestion for training managers this year it to create what I call a Reality Training Budget.
Instead of copying last year’s numbers and hoping it all gets approved again this year, I want you to begin by preparing a list of 2011 completed and in process objectives. What did you do this year that made a difference on the performance of the company? How did it impact the company? And yes, take a little time to be proud and brag on your team a little!
Now, polish the 2012 training plan and make any necessary adjustments, while highlighting the key objectives you are planning to achieve next year. Do not forget to describe the expected benefits of your efforts, and sell your heart out over the value you will bring once again to the organization.
Numbers in a training budget are impersonal, and need to be supported by the emotional triggers that come with each initiative. Be prepared to link each objective to corporate goals, and if you cannot link your work to the company’s work, then maybe it should not be on the list.
I use the word “Reality” because you need to paint a picture of what could be done with the resources and budget you are proposing, versus the reality of what will not get done if the budget is not approved. Be real clear that more money can get more done, and less money will get less done.
In my book The Training Physical, I talk about setting realistic expectations. When management wants to do something later in the year, either they pony up more money or they trade-off another activity and give up on it being accomplished.
These steps create a win-win for you and the clients you serve. It also sets expectations, and it demonstrates you are a partner in the business. Learning is a part of every successful organization, and training needs to live up to the expectation.