When I was a wee kid working on a group project, we would always ask “Who is going to be the colour-ineror? Well just last week a friend of mine reminded me of the term when I was listing support functions that sometimes struggle to make a difference to the business.
I was listing finance, HR, IT, risk, compliance, audit and then said, “Even people in sexier functions like in marketing.” … BANG, she pounced. “You mean the colouring-in department!” In her experience working on both sides of the marketing function within an organisation or in an agency, often the marketing department is sidelined by the main business. They are not involved in the decision making. They are there to colour-in, to jazz up what is often a poor product or service offering because of poor decisions by management.
My first point is that whichever support function you work in, don’t think your problems with influencing the business are yours alone. You are in good company.
My second point is that being “just the colour-ineror” is a choice. You can choose to continue to be disappointed by your lack of impact on the business or you can do something about it. Here is how:
· Stand in their shoes – to understand their problems and how what you do will help to solve them.
· Paint them a picture – to provide them with clarity around your solution.
· Tell them a story – to bring your solution to life and to help them connect emotionally with you and your solution.
· Make them believe – by ensuring you are entirely credible. Have the statistics, case studies and counter arguments all prepared so they are simply convinced.