My colleague on the senior management team seemed surprised, shocked even - “Do you mean to say you talk about me and members of my team during your meetings?” - as if this was slightly improper, unprofessional and indiscrete.

“Of course we talk about you and individuals in your team - don’t tell me you don’t talk about us”.

I don’t mean gossiping or moaning tactics, but if you’re responsible for support services like HR, Finance, IT, or Policy then you are a corporate messenger trying not to get shot. You are asking people to do things they don’t want to do - provide information (form filling), adopt fairer recruitment practises (further delays in post-filling), attend Health and Safety courses (waste of time), do their own data entry (what is admin for?), or respond to a press enquiry or complaint (justify their decision).

At which point, someone always asks: “well how many staff do they have in HR?”, “what do the policy group do anyway?” and, ultimately, “if we need to save money, then why not start with this lot?”

So yes, we talk tactics. Who is the most vocal and why? How do we convince them that this is worth the effort? How can we make them more aware of what we do? What should we do differently so that they appreciate us more?