Sue Jones, Vice-President, Marketing EMEA for Airwave, reflects on how being a successful influencer involves a lot more than simple powers of persuasion.
“In terms of influencing people, my style is always very inclusive. I’m always greeting people with a smile, I’m always very welcoming and I always treat people as individuals.”
Throughout her career, regardless of her role, Sue has always made it her job to get to know the people around her as well as those in other departments. In her experience, understanding their priorities is key to developing mutually beneficial relationships.
However, she stresses the importance of taking a long-term view when it comes to relationship-building. “One error that I have seen regularly is where people will build a relationship for a specific need and then they will cease that relationship and move on to the next people. I think when you’re in a situation where you really need to influence people and influence them quickly, having that basis of really good, strong mutually beneficial relationships can really pay dividends in the long run.”
As you can’t always know who you may need to call on, it can be valuable to have a broad business knowledge. Having contacts in each department not only means you can help them and they can help you but, importantly, as times arise when you need to do that positive influencing, those relationships are already in place.
Sue also reflects on the benefits of building an external network of people to help with influencing. “The nature of my role in marketing is we have a lot of external suppliers that we have to work with. They need to know our business almost as well as we do, and in some cases better than people within our own business, so it is essential that we build and nurture very strong relationships with them so that, again, as you’re working to deliver for the benefit of the business, for each other and for the team, you can pull on external support and advice.
“I think sometimes when you’re looking internally they call it navel-gazing. If you’re navel-gazing too much, you can miss some of the obvious points externally. Having that external point of view is also essential, in my opinion.”