I came across a post asking “How does the successful CMO prepare for the Board meeting?” I was rather intrigued and asked the writer three questions.
1. At Senior Leadership level, is there such a thing as a “cost centre?”
2. Does the Leadership Team answer the Board’s questions about marketing ROI as a team, with the CMO filling in the more exotic details, or is the CMO left to fend for himself?
3. The analogy of the CMO meeting the CFO in a dark alley and the CFO handing her a suitcase of money and asking what returns she can expect by when sounds rather off. How do you think the CFO ought to relate to the CMO?
I wonder how many Senior Leadership Teams or Senior Management Teams are teams in the true sense of the word, and how many are merely collections of high-ranking individuals who happen to sport the noun “Chief” in their job titles? Don’t even talk about having a thriving, symbiotic kind of relationship between the Senior Leadership and the Board! Forget about a Board comprised of sage grandparents with a multi-generational view of helping steer the company to profitable destinations for all stakeholders. No, many Boards are shareholder-focused, and all they are interested in are profits, never mind how those profits come about, that’s your job, thank you very much. But let’s just talk about Senior Leadership Teams.
Is there a Deputy CEO or Chief of Staff to support the CEO in the daily operations of the enterprise? I’m not talking about the COO, he’s already got more than he can chew. Is the CMO also in charge of Sales, and are their operations united and seamless? Does the CMO avail himself of available data, tools and business norms accrued, perhaps over the years or available from market research entities or other think-tanks? Does he use that data and other resources to help orchestrate the company’s marketing posture? Do Sales and Marketing talk to each other often so that strategic and tactical level Marketing and Sales operations result in strong appetites for the company brand, her goods and services, and what the company stands for? Does HR concern himself with where the company is heading, the quality and required competencies of people needed for that to be achieved, and how he is going to make that happen in view of current overarching demographics both domestically and globally? Does Finance see himself as a banker and not just the keeper of the bank vault? Is he able to influence how assets and cash become interchangeable at will? Is he in a position to shape how the company grows and multiplies existing and future assets?
How well does your Leadership Team answer those questions? It tells you where they live between Myth and Reality. Where’s yours?