As a leadership consultant, oftentimes you’re selling into the HR or Learning & Development (L&D) function within the organization. 

And, logically, when you’re selling into HR you’re addressing HR’s needs. 

HR’s needs are often driven by content, however and, by extension, how they measure program success – usually revolve around “participant satisfaction” and “knowledge retention”.

Rarely are these two forms of measurement aligned with the priorities of the executive team. 

A strategically minded executive team cares about two things – business impact and return on investment (ROI) – on all investments… which includes their people development budget.

“ROI” measures the financial return. ($1 in = $2 out)

“Business impact” is about measurable improvement on key internal metrics that drive the strategic priorities of the business. 

As you pitch, deliver and report on your programs, whose needs are you speaking to?

Here’s an example:

HR of a construction company asks you to quote on a site manager leadership training program.

HR expects you to measure participant satisfaction and knowledge retention (they want to know people are learning things)

The executive team has been plagued by on-site injury time lately, costing them a bundle in stop time.

The executive team would love to know how your program is going to improve on-site safety rates

Are you addressing the needs of the executive team in your program proposal and impact reporting?

If this has set off a lightbulb for you but you’ve already sold your program into HR – there’s still time for you to change how the program is positioned so that it gets the attention of the executive team.

This trick is to create a logical set of links, connecting your content to the strategic priorities of the organization (and therefore getting the attention of your client’s C-suite)

Conveniently, the Kirkpatrick-Phillips model works as a great backdrop for laddering up from “content” to “business impact”. 

If you’re not familiar with the KP model, there are 5 levels, each providing increased clarity on program ROI. Each level benefits from a different question to answer in order to demonstrate impact.

Level 1: Participant Satisfaction

Did they like the session? What resonated most? 

Level 2: Knowledge Retention

Did they remember the key messages from the session?

Level 3: Behavior Change

Have they applied anything from the session? Has it created lasting change?

Level 4: Business Impact

Have the changes they’ve applied from the session noticeably improved the business metrics we intended?

Level 5: ROI

Can we quantify the financial impact of those improved business metrics?

To make your program more relevant for the executive team and to better link it to strategic priorities, take what you’re doing for HR and demonstrate the related behavior changes the content is designed to drive… and why they matter to your client’s leadership. 

Want the step-by-step guide on how to demonstrate business impact with your programs?

We’ve created a worksheet to help you structure your program proposals and/or reporting “from the bottom up”; demonstrating the quantifiable impact your program will have not just to HR but to the organization as a whole. Access it free, here.

Here at Actionable, we help elite consultants deliver Impact Certainty for their clients. If you’d like to be able to guarantee demonstrable impact for your clients, we’d love to show you how we can help make that happen. Book a no risk, 20 minute discovery call to learn more.