‘It prepares you for leadership’: Ritson and Edwards on why learning a shared business language matters

Mark Ritson and Helen Edwards argue that speaking a shared language within a business is key for marketers to progress.

Marketers looking to elevate themselves within their business need to learn the shared language of the organisation in order to succeed, according to Passionbrand director and Marketing Week columnist Helen Edwards.

She believes developing a “shared language” within the business makes life much easier for everyone within the company – not just marketers – and “so much more expedient” to get things done.

Speaking at the virtual open day for the Mini MBA in Management, Edwards said it’s vital marketers learn about the wider business they work for in order to improve their station within the company. “Your partners in finance and supply chain will know these tools and frameworks. If you do, too, then you’ve got that connection point and respect, once they know you know this stuff.”

The language of the boardroom: What to say and what to avoidIt’s something Mark Ritson, Marketing Week columnist and Mini MBA founder, recognises too. He said developing a shared language among the marketing team is the thing he hears the most positive feedback about at the end of his course – but believes “there’s a broader set of languages” that marketers should challenge themselves to speak as well.

“People will look at you in a different way,” he said. “Being able to have the ability to talk about net present value and talk about your decision-making in a quantitative fashion and look at risk – these things shine through. It will prepare you for leadership, yes, but it will make you better along the way because marketing isn’t an island.”

Indeed, it will have a knock-on effect for any marketers looking to reach the boardroom as they develop their careers. Edwards added that in a C-suite role marketers “have to be able to talk the language of the boardroom and have a working knowledge of all the business disciplines”.

It will prepare you for leadership, but it will make you better along the way because marketing isn’t an island.

Mark Ritson

But more than just hoping to reach board level to tick off an accomplishment or add it to your LinkedIn profile, she stressed that “you’ve got to think about what you’re going to get out of it” in order to be a good board member. “It’s not about making it to the board and that’s it. It’s about what is my role? Why am I here? And how can I make a good contribution?” said Edwards.

Ritson agreed that too many marketers are focused on reaching the top table without preparing themselves for the realities of the role. Too often, he claims, we spend our lives in marketing thinking about how we can get marketers to the boardroom and then when they get there “they tend to be shithouse” and are “out within a year” because they have “no idea what they’re talking about”.

Learning that shared language could change that: “You’ll know what you’re doing when you get there which is more important,” he added.

Mark Ritson and Helen Edwards both teach on the Mini MBA in Management, with the first course beginning on 26 September. Places are available but limited. Click here for more information and to book.



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