Investing in Enterprise Learning Should Produce Significant Returns. Do the Math!

In an Enterprise Context

Whether you are a fan of mostly Formal Learning or mostly Informal Learning – and/or the blends of each – you need to understand the total life cycle Investment Costs for implementing them – and understand the probable life cycle Returns as well – financial and other – when you make your pitch to management at your Enterprise.

You can’t just be a Learning Proponent. You’ve got to be a “business proponent” a “business champion” first and last – and a Learning Champion in the middle.

When I would propose investment cost and returns to my Clients I always liked to start with the Costs of Doing Nothing At All. That always got everyones’ attention.

If you did nothing – what is that problem or opportunity worth? What does it cost us, what are we losing out on, by doing nothing. Leaving the status quo “as is.”

That often causes a desire for change. But you’ve got to do your homework and you’ve got to do the math!

Now, not every investment opportunity is worth pursuing – relative to all of the other opportunities to invest for returns.

Just because you could do something – doesn’t mean you should.

In an Enterprise there are many opportunities for investments. With significant returns. Everything is relative to all other opportunities/problems that require money time and attention. How does your “business case” compare to all of those?

And can you even be trusted to not squander the opportunity, the investment funds?

How “mature” is your Enterprise’s approach to Training/ Learning/ Knowledge Management? Investing in a mature set of process is smarter than investing in a set of immature processes. For those immature processes are likely to spill resources, waste resources, rather than produce significant returns.

The IT world discovered that decades ago. The ISD world, the Learning world, needs to reflect on that – and where they are – and if they should be seen as a wise investment or a potential wasted investment. And they may need to get their house in order, their act together, etc. First. Before requesting additional funding to do cool, hip and happenin’ stuff.

Do your homework. Tighten up your internal processes for deploying Learning systems and content and connections that matters to the Enterprise and it’s mission and systems and processes. That “really” matters. That has a real potential for significant returns on those investments. Otherwise, why should leadership even bother?

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