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Organization + Executive Leadership

Your starting point: 

Org refresh with a focus on executive alignment.

It looks like you're experiencing pressure from within your organization—and particularly from your exec team—to update the structure of your marketing team. Start your adaptive journey by empathizing with leadership and listening to their suggestions for change. A new organizational chart on its own is unlikely to solve all of your problems, but it's often a key factor in improving the success of marketing teams.

Starting steps: 
Unpack their vision
  • Start by reviewing every asset you can find that articulates your executive team's vision.
  • Next, spend time with the leadership team. Encourage them to articulate their vision for the organization in their own words.
  • Use these conversations to understand how they expect marketing to contribute to achieving the overall vision. Encourage them to talk openly and directly about what they feel is not working with your current org structure.
  • Listen for clues that indicate what they're truly passionate about. For some executives, a renewed focus on customer-centricity, agility or efficiency may be the lens through which they are viewing everything.
  • Once you understand the executive vision, the personal passions behind it and the source of the misalignment, you'll be well-equipped to move forward.
Align with your strategy
  • Start by aligning the feedback received from your executive team with your marketing strategy. Ask yourself where the problem lies. In your structure? In your strategy? In how you are communicating the work of marketing to executives? Or somewhere else altogether?
  • Whatever the answer, it will be vital to have close alignment between the org and the strategy. As the late, great management theorist Alfred DuPont Chandler said: "Unless structure follows strategy, inefficiency results."
  • If you've gotten this far and you're still convinced that your structure is indeed the problem, identify the jobs that you need the team to do in order to achieve your strategy and align with the executive team's overall vision.
  • Next, identify what you will need from others (other departments, external vendors) to achieve this vision.
  • Often, you'll find that you need to conduct follow-up conversations in the form of meetings and interviews with colleagues who lead other teams, executives, marketing team members and groups that work with marketing.
Map out your new structure
  • Now it's time to start mapping out the new structure.
  • Start with an initial theory about what you can commit to as a team, what changes to the structure you'd like to make, what external help you might need and what the implications of any tough-to-solve issues might be.
  • Before drawing a final org chart, check in with the executive team. They're the impetus for this work, so their buy-in is crucial.
  • Share what you've discovered and pressure-test your initial theories on what might need to change.
  • Iteratively develop your org chart with the help of a trusted lieutenant and colleagues from HR to make sure you don't have any blind spots in your design.
  • Where possible, ask marketing leaders in other organizations for their experiences. Be sure to read as many case studies as possible.
  • Once you've developed your structure, spend time putting together a thoughtful rollout plan. In our experience, the way you communicate and execute an org change is as important as the specifics of the new structure.
  • Provide your team with as much clarity, rationale and support as possible during what can often be a difficult transition period. And be sensitive to the different ways that team members experience change.
  • Lastly, leave enough time for a transition to happen gradually. Pick a realistic target date so that your team can continue to function during the transition.
  • We recommend using this transition window to tackle the next phase of your adaptive journey, which will involve developing new processes and revising old ones.
  • Where possible, test your organizational changes through a few pilots that roll out the structure iteratively so you can learn and adapt as you go.

It looks like you're experiencing pressure from within your organization—and particularly from your exec team—to update the structure of your marketing team.

“If you’re on a mission to make change happen, you want Modern Craft in your corner.”

Jon Mamela, CMO, Tourism Toronto

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