Marketing Organization
Organization Design and Effectiveness

It’s Not About Me: The Mantra of True Leaders

June 03, 2015

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“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants”– Sir Isaac Newton

After seven years of leading The CMO Club, one truth is clearer than any other. We all need each other. When we recognize our individual strengths and unique gifts and combine them together – anything is possible. Great leaders recognize this. Without a strong team, leaders know that success is tenuous.

More significantly, in the ever-changing, hyper-fast and broadening world that is marketing today, your marketing team can make or break your business. CMOs who get this create a strong team. Right away. As a top priority. They focus on these critical elements:

Hire Right: As the saying goes, a chain is only as strong as its’ weakest link. Finding extraordinary – and diverse – talent with the right cultural fit is the underpinning of great marketing (just ask Google). Knowing the skills you need is step one and then finding the right chemistry, the ideal mix and the “I can problem solve anything” mindset is a formula for hires with the highest impact.

Job descriptions that are specific, finite and pointed win attention and candidates. Using multiple team member interviews and discovery processes produces a robust view to help you win the “just right” hires. Today, social media is an effective way to leverage mutual connections to assess a candidates’ skills, focus and fit.

Given the breadth and depth of marketing requirements that many CMO’s seek, there are also permanent and contract hire solutions. The key is to make a cohesive, collaborative and connected team regardless of the team structure or status.

As hiring decisions go, time is your ally. The adage of hire slow and fire fast is so true. How many times have you delayed the inevitable with a team member who is not delivering or not the right culture fit, and wished you had made a move when you first had the feeling about that person.

Educate: Recently, I spoke to marketing team members of a CMO Club member’s company who has won “best places to work” year after year. Their accolades are impressive. However, more impressive was the one resounding theme from each marketing team member on why they loved working at the “best” company. Almost 100% stated that the C-Suite invests in them, cares about their growth and helps to develop their skills; not just in words, but in consistent, reliable actions.

Providing education and personal development opportunities via both on-going training and real-world work experiences matters. It is a huge differentiator.

Not only does it put your teams’ needs first, it develops the future leaders of tomorrow. And, it creates an almost unbreakable bond of loyalty from your team. It is a noble and significant accomplishment to make a difference in another person’s life. Seize the opportunity to do what is right, set up connection points, provide education and create marketing mentors so that your team can flourish. Employees will recognize and appreciate these initiatives and show you their gratitude via their contributions.

We are working to support CMOs in their team building efforts via our CMO Solutions Clubhouse. Personally, I am honored that our membership tells me they love the CMO Solutions Clubhouse for its’ powerful insights and CMO-centric content which helps educate and develop their teams. In addition, we have rolled out the Future CMO Club for the next generation of CMOs to engage with their peers and CMOs for learning and “inner circle” relationship building.

Support: Each of the members of your marketing team will benefit from a people-based support structure, especially when they are new in their role. Strong marketing leaders make themselves available as a resource and communicate consistently, clearly and genuinely. Crafting regular team meetings and building a safe environment catalyzes team camaraderie. Building agile structure and support that facilitates a team’s abilities to take risks (and allows for failure) will encourage break-through innovation ideas and actions.

A personal note: Don’t confuse clear and genuine with fun loving and easy going. You want people excited to come to work, feeling good about their roles and support while also held accountable for delivery. I’ve found this over and over again with teams. The more you stay present and engaged, the more they see the value in what they do. How many times have you been given an assignment and your boss never follows up or appears to care with what you delivered? Your team notices.

The top CMOs in The CMO Club follow these three initiatives and provide a solid foundation for stellar team leadership in marketing. However, the best leaders in The Club are also adaptable. Every team is made up of individuals who all have different needs and requirements. Marketing can make or break you and your team is the linchpin. Remember, a leader is only as good as their team, so make yours amazing.

Visit the CMO Solution Clubhouse for more information on Finding and Retaining Marketing Stars

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