I was listening to ESPN recently and they were discussing NBA Coaches and their success. The conclusion, Phil Jackson, former coach of the World Champion Los Angeles Lakers, would not have won a championship or even made the playoffs with this year’s Lakers team (currently holding a 5-27 record). NBA coaches are worth a few extra wins per year and can lead team to championships, as long as their talent is one of the best in the league.

Now let’s think of our position as CMOs. We need to lead the growth agenda for the company, lead the brand beyond the marketing department, engage with customers effectively and deliver value and customer service, ensure our company is differentiated in the market, and meet or exceed our metrics doing more with less. We can’t do everything (although sometimes I fall into this trap and see many other CMOs going down this path), so the only way we can do all of the above is to make sure we have a team of the best marketers, business people, and leaders in our industry. How many of us really have the best, demand only the best and put the right amount of effort into training, coaching or replacing as needed to have a best in class marketing organization? Top to bottom, how would you rate your team? Is everyone a star or best at what is needed for each position? No exceptions allowed. If we focus and deliver on this, we’ll have more time and insights for influencing our CEOs, board, and customers.

You don’t guarantee being the best in your industry with an all-star marketing team, but you have no shot without it.

Note: This article was originally published in 2010 on The CMO Club blog