My Org Chart Is Better Than Yours

As the roles of agencies diminishes and internal marketing operations emerge as a source of competitive advantage, more CMO’s are exploring re-orgs and new operating models. What pitfalls should marketing leaders steer clear of as they embark on this journey? How can they be successfully avoided? Let’s take a moment to pause and reflect.

  • According to research from Gartner, many CMOs are looking for a new operating model that ticks one specific box—less reliance on outsourced talent and stronger internal capabilities.
  • Agile methods are also getting a lot of love—with good reason. According to McKinsey, 71 percent of high-growth companies have adopted agile processes such as scrum, cross-functional collaboration, and co-located teams.
  • But one common pitfall is emerging. Too many organizations “make the mistake of going for easy wins”—launching agile teams in isolated incubators or failing to ground their work in a clear mission with specific outcomes.
  • It’s worth pausing here for some words of wisdom from the late, great management theorist Alfred Chandler …
  • We see two kinds of strategic anchor being used to guide this work. The first is grounded in customer centricity—in the growing belief that understanding customers is now essential for every role.
  • The results here appear strong. A recent survey found that high performing marketing teams are 2.5 times more likely than underperforming teams to align their marketing roles to a customer journey-based strategy.
  • One example: brand, media and digital teams at Adidas are now organized to align around creating a better consumer experience. This has led the brand to pilot new processes and models of working. Structure has followed strategy, and process has followed structure.
  • The second form of strategy being used to effectively ground and direct structural changes stems from corporate values and culture. The thinking goes like this: culture and values provide a consistent mindset. Then that mindset drives consistent decision-making in a fast-changing environment.
  • The gold standard example here is Netflix—who have used their finely honed, clearly expressed culture to create tight alignment and drive consistent behaviours and decision-making across their fast-growing organization.

  • Whatever form of strategic anchor you opt for, your program of change will inevitably carry some risk. But these risks must be embraced or no real progress can be made. After all “without new mistakes, there’s no learning and no progress.”


Issue #46
Jun 10, 2018

Further Reading