We recently spent two days talking to marketing leaders at the Transformational CMO Assembly in Denver. A recurring theme was the difficulty of carving off time, resources and attention for strategic, future-focused work while meeting the demands of day-to-day execution.
At a time when so many of us are thinking about transformation, this is clearly a challenge worth tackling. What’s causing it? And what can you do to address it in your organization? Let’s take a moment to pause and reflect.
- A recent survey of 341 marketing leaders found that most of their time (69%) is spent “managing the present” as opposed to “preparing for the future.”
- Why? There are many factors at play here, including short CMO tenures and pressure to deliver near-term impact.
- Doubt and ambiguity about the nature of the CMO role probably don’t help.
- And comp structure is likely involved as well—it’s common for big chunks of CMO pay to come in the form of bonuses that reward near-term results.
- All of this matters for two reasons. First, short-termism can really hurt the business (just ask Adidas or Gap).
- And second (it goes without saying but we’ll say it anyway) preparing for the future really matters.
- So what can you do to rise above the pressures of today and focus more energy on shaping tomorrow? This recent piece from HBR is packed with great tips. Our favourite: prepare for the future by building up the internal capabilities you’ll need to realize your vision. Once they’re in place, function will follow form and your vision will have a better chance of being realized.
- More advice worth heeding: turn time management into an intentional practice so you know when to “drop, delegate, or redesign”.
- In the same spirit, there are some great tips here on learning how to work on big projects in the smaller spaces between meetings.
- For the last word on the subject, we turn to what might be Seth Godin’s shortest blog post ever: “You don’t need more time, you just need to decide.”
Speaking of deciding, the Eisenhower Matrix helps you to focus on the work with the greatest payoff over the work that makes you feel effective in the moment.