- Sat, September 24 2011
- Filed under: Nonprofit leadership
Skeptical boss courtesy of BigStockPhoto.
I just returned from Boston (no thanks to the always wretched USAirways), where I presented a session at the Communications Network conference called, “Winning over your boss with marketing ju-jitsu.”
Here’s the concept: As marketers and professional communicators, we should be GREAT at persuading our bosses to do things. But we often struggle with internal marketing. Why? We’re telling rather than selling our bosses - in other words, we’re not treating them as we would any other external audience. They need convincing like anyone else. Enter ju-jitsu—the soft martial art—which relies on balance and leverage to overwhelm an opponent. I talked about four ways to start using your boss’s values and psychology as a powerful way to advance a communications agenda. Today, I’ll cover those four methods and tomorrow I’ll cover the specific scenarios we covered in the session.
1. Your boss is a brain, not an ear. In other words, you have to connect with her based on how her mind works. You’re a marketer! Market to your boss! Cast your case according to her agenda.
2. Reason is overrated. All sorts of brain research shows that stories and emotion engage people in a way that an analytical case never can. Make your case with story first, facts second.
3. Put your case in the mouth of someone your boss likes and respects. You may not be the best messenger for your case. Who has your boss’s ear? Let them do the convincing for you.
4. We’re just now understanding how deeply culture influences us - organizational culture, national culture, tribal culture, etc. As Peter Drucker said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Don’t try to sell something that is alien to the culture at your organization - or the cultural orientation of your boss. That threatens her very identity. Speak to how your idea fits within the culture - and celebrates it. Better to match to existing values than to try to change them.