Implementing a new project or a large change in process in any company is challenging on many fronts. There are budgets and timelines to be met and hurdles to be crossed, however the largest challenge often comes from “the human factor”. Big or small, change of any kind can rock the boat and send people into a tailspin. Any project is doomed for failure if it does not have the buy-in of the employees.

Obtaining employee buy-in is never easy, so what is the best way to get employee on borad with your big project? Invest in change management. This will increase the likelihood of achieving the return on investment of your project.

There are a lot of facts and statistics on why one should invest in change management as part of a large project.  I’ve listed just a few below.

When looking at all these different perspectives, one thing becomes blatantly clear – not investing increases your chance of failure.  The trick is to convince the boss to increase the budget by 12% to 15% for the “soft” activities on a project.

Your chances of getting funding will increase if you to treat it like an actual investment (because that’s what it is!!). And all investments are measured by the return they provide. Here’s how ROI is calculated:

The challenge is articulating hard benefits and conveying all the reasons why change management is a good investment to busy executives. Sometimes it seems virtually impossible.

The best way to get their attention?

Treat your project like any other investment. And demonstrate the ROI of adding change management to your budget.

So, you’ve decided that you’d like to increase the likelihood of success for your project by adding a change management aspect to it. Now comes the fun stuff – having to convince the higher-ups to invest the extra dollars in the project to accommodate change management. That can be a mountain to climb in itself, so to help ease the journey, here are 4 things you can do to build your case and get the budget you need…

1. Credibility is a matter of perception

Be sure you have facts/ stats that are as recent as possible and from sources that are credible to your boss. If he/she isn’t a fan of academia, don’t quote the Harvard Business Review. If they are “nationalistic” find stats from your country versus worldwide studies.

2. Be brief and be gone!

Execs are juggling way too many balls and have little time to waste. Consider a 20 minute meeting versus an hour long extravaganza. Keep your presentation concise and get to the point quickly. Five slides maximum! Remember they live and die by the phrase “what’s the bottom line”.

3. Don’t take my word for it

Enlist others to help tell the story as well. Connect your boss with people at the same level (or higher) in other divisions or companies that have lived through it. It’s amazing how much more a voice from outside is heard than one from within.

4. Speak Their Language not Yours

This is a financial discussion. So know the metrics that are being measured. Some common ones are:


Remember this is a business decision. Maintain this perspective. Be balanced in presenting both sides of the equation (cost/ risk as well as benefits). In fact be conservative in stating benefits and liberal in stating costs. That sets up the under promise and over deliver cliché that everyone strives for.