Where to Delegate--and Where Not to
Updated: Jul 9, 2019
I was once in an interview loop where the recruiter had given me some insight into the type of CMO that the company was looking to hire--he said they wanted someone who “could be “strategic,” yet “hands-on,” think “big picture,” and yet “do the work,” and someone who could “build a great team,” but “step in whenever it was needed.” It sounded like a lot of corporate-speak back then, just as it does today as well.
We all know that CMO’s and marketing leaders are at the intersection of a whole bunch of initiatives and projects these days--not just in the traditional demand gen/lead funnel work, but now it’s about extending the brand and the customer experience all the way from first-touch through to renewal years after the contract is signed by the customer. The amount of data, the amount of touch points--it’s an impossible task for one person to be on top of all of it, all the time.
That’s where having the best lieutenants comes into play. You need to figure out what matters most to your sales team, your CEO, and your board. What are they focused on, what do they keep hammering you on, what is keeping them up at night? Figure that out, and that becomes what you focus 75% of your effort on, at least in the first year. The other 25% you get a great leader to join in with you (I’ve written about this previously--get yourself a COO of marketing) and delegate everything else to them. Sure you check-in with them regularly, sure you coach and diagnose and adjust and pivot--just like with your focus area. But let them run and experiment with the part that’s a lower priority. You stay focused on what you’re going to be evaluated on first--and solve that problem.
I’ve seen too many marketing leaders start by hiring out and delegating to a great talent the very item that the board has hired them for. And PS this doesn’t mean that you do it ALL yourself! No--you get talent, you get processes, you get new software--whatever it takes to achieve the goal of the thing they want you focused on. But you’re on point. You don’t outsource this to the rising start you’ve brought on board and declare victory. This is yours to win or lose and no matter what else happens, you’ll be judged on if you led this effort successfully.
So do the work here, and delegate elsewhere.