Leadership clinic: How can I persuade my boss to invest?

Karen Blackett OBE, UK country manager of WPP, Group M UK CEO and a former MT 35 Under 35 winner, answers questions on navigating the tricky world of corporate leadership.

by Karen Blackett

Question: I’m responsible for a brand in a big company that sells several products. Some of the brands make more money than others and receive the lion’s share of the company’s resources. I understand this from a financial perspective. I manage one of the smaller entities but believe it has huge growth potential. I’m finding it hard, however, to persuade my risk-averse boss to invest more money. Without investment, I can’t see how we can ever grow. Equally, I can’t guarantee that the extra money would result in a big return. What should I do?

Karen Blackett says:

The key question to ask is what is it your boss is most concerned about that will stop you receiving the investment that you need? Is it purely about budget, is it about possible “failure” and how that looks to their boss, is it about time management and prioritisation? Knowing the answer will help with the language you use in the business case you clearly need to present for investment.

Your business case is about finding new growth opportunities and looking to future proof the entire organisation. Your boss may be focusing on the “now”, or even the “near”, but you will help convince them by framing your business case around what is “next”. At some point, a well starts to run dry. Your business case is about finding the new well with plenty of fresh water.

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