Let’s face it. Marketing leaders simply can’t go it alone. The key to any successful organization is to have every part of it firmly aligned around a common strategy. If you are going to lead change initiatives to improve your company’s situation, developing a collaborative environment across the leadership team will be critical. And it starts with you.
Do you demonstrate that you are part of a team or do you make your agenda and your ego the topic of conversation? Have you developed your emotional intelligence to sense the human reactions of your teammates? Do you actively listen for the meaning behind other people’s comments and reactions? Are you clear about what you expect of others and what is expected of you? Are you fulfilling those expectations? Is your communication style enabling or inhibiting the change you seek to lead? Do you debate different perspectives in a positive way or do you shut down alternative points of view? Collaborative leaders engage their teams in ways that build trust, lead to alignment and facilitate successful outcomes.
Of all the roles in an organization, the marketing leader requires the most collaborative approach to succeed. Marketing must be connected with Sales to realize immediate revenue gains. Marketing must be integral to the product development process to address the needs of customer segments. Marketing and Finance must be in sync about pricing and budgeting strategies to maximize short-term and long-term financial performance. Marketing and Operations need to be aligned on forecasting and supply chain strategies to balance customer needs and profitability. And marketing must be connected within its own organization to engage customers consistently and with maximum impact from the allocated budget.
Being a collaborative leader isn’t easy. It takes work. And patience. Often the desire to make change happen faster by taking a more direct approach will actually make things take longer. A leader who can communicate a sense of urgency while building a collaborative organization will be a leader the organization wants to follow.
For more on building a collaborative organization, you might find this short article useful: Building a Culture of Collaboration.