ROI to gain executive support

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Have you ever had a few short minutes to present a proposal to senior management about an initiative you and your team are passionate about, only to feel after the presentation that you didn’t communicate to the executives the importance of your proposal?

As a team leader and director of a function or a team, you are probably passionate about your work.

The value of your group’s work is obvious to you. Here’s the rub: it’s not obvious to the people you may be trying to influence.

This is particularly true if you are in a function or area that spends money rather than generating it.

All too often, group leaders neglect to explain, describe, and quantify how their team’s work impacts the overall bottom line of the organization.

Many are confounded when they don’t get the funding or other support they need.

Any time you are looking for support (whether is it funding or resources), come up with reasons why the leadership team should invest in your group and not one of the score of others who are competing for that same money.

To get funding, you need to be able to articulate the benefit you bring and why you deserve the money more than someone else.

Whether they work in private industry or the public sector, most senior executives say that many presentations they have listened to failed to articulate the return on investment the company will realize as a result of taking action on the proposal.

Stumped about how to demonstrate a return on investment? You can start by engaging your team to look at each of your major priorities or goals and identifying the impact that achieving those goals will have on the organization’s:

  • Sales
  • costs
  • errors
  • production time
  • customer satisfaction
  • customer loyalty
  • ability to attract top talent
  • employee engagement
  • employee retention
  • brand recognition
  • stakeholder support
  • shareholder confidence
  • ability to meet regulations
  • ability to mitigate risks

If you aren’t able to show a bottom-line impact, interview some allies and advocates at executive levels to hear how they would describe the value your group brings.

Keep pushing yourself and your team to hear and understand what your executives are looking for and be sure to describe impact in their terms.

By focusing on this in your presentations, you will see much more support for your proposals from the executive team.

Wendy Mack is a Woodland Park-based consultant, speaker and author specializing in leading and communicating change. She can be reached at