The closing remarks at LMA Mid-Atlantic last week was with the CMO powerhouses - 'The Original Gangsters' - Alina Gorokhovsky (Wiley Rein), Jose Cunningham, Wendy Bernero (Baker McKenzie), Trish Lilley (Strook & Stroock & Lavan). The lively discussion focused on advice for marketing leaders today and tomorrow.
There was fantastic advice all round but I particularly enjoyed what they advised around creating the best environment for teams to succeed.
Here are just some of my takeaways.
Advice to new CMOs:
- Have fun and collaborate.
- Listen, observe and absorb first. Then act.
- Create, share and deliver a clear vision.
- Get to know your new firm's top clients.
- Build relationships early - obvious but sometimes the to do lists get in the way of the relationship building.
- Manage your well-being - do not burn out in year one! Look after your family - you need their support to succeed. Marathon not a sprint!
I highlight the quote below because a key takeaway for me was the need to engage your wider organisation and build relationships. The ability to do this is critical to success and informal networks cannot go without notice. In other words, you cannot spend all of your time dealing with just senior peers. You need to invest time across the organisation spending time with those who can drive change.
Often those 'lower down' the org chart have twice as much power to influence change as people with hierarchical power.
Neither should we assume that old power outplays new power. People often say to me “I can’t make change happen. I’m only a staff nurse/student/junior doctor/middle manager”. Yet research findings suggest that, in terms of being an effective change agent, the extent to which a person is at the centre in the informal network (new power) is significantly more important than their position in the formal system (old power). In addition, people who are highly connected have twice as much power to influence change as people with hierarchical power.