Making the sum greater than its parts

The collective experience, ideas and talent of some of our work teams are mostly left untapped
The collective experience, ideas and talent of some of our work teams are mostly left untapped

TAKE an average complex marketing and sales function with a team of roughly five people, where the average years of experience is nine – that gives almost 500 years’ collective experience in one team.

Think about your own organisation – you can scale the number of people up or down, in most the reality is that the collective experience, ideas and talent of the team are mostly left untapped.

Forgive the use of some well-trodden corporate clichés, but CEO and CMOs are under pressure to ‘do more with less’, ‘sweat their assets’….

An answer to this lies in a mind-set shift away from being a ‘marketing organisation’ to instead thinking about a ‘marketing community’.

When we talk about a ‘marketing community’, we’re talking about a network of people with a common agenda, cause or interest, who collaborate by sharing ideas, information and other resources.

Getting smarter about moving work around and sharing knowledge can mean:

• Deploying the right talent: knowing more about your teams will give you a rich dataset that you can use to find the best people for a given role, project or problem.

• Building organisational memory: most of us will admit to having seen the same mistakes being made time and time again across a marketing team since there’s no mechanism for capturing key lessons learned and committing them to an organisational memory.

• Sharing what works: how can you make great work travel as fast as a bad news story would? Spotlighting best practices and creating a platform for sharing this across teams will not only make high performance transferable, but also encourage a healthy level of competitiveness.

• Breaking down barriers: creating transparency across various functional and project silos supports a culture of collaboration, promotes the alignment of your marketing teams around a common cause, purpose and objectives.

• Doing more with less: reduce the need to turn to external support (such as new hires, agencies and consultancies) for counsel on particularly challenging, high risk or strategically important projects by tapping into the collective experience.

• Positioning marketing internally: many CMOs still feel that senior leaders lack a shared understanding of the role and purpose of the marketing function. This is particularly prevalent in business-to-business organisations where marketing is a minority compared to the ‘core’ function of the business (lawyers, accountants, etc). Strength comes in numbers, and building and advocating marketing as a recognised professional community can help contribute towards an improved positioning of the team internally.

• Attracting and retaining great talent: people are motivated by a sense of belonging. Building a true community that gives people more than just a space on an org chart will keep your best people, and bring more talent to your door.

Corporate support of networking is one step an organisation can take to helping their teams merge and look outside and inside when moving forward.

More and more CIM Ireland is seeing teams attend events, and therefore facilitating an in house company community in safe, sharing space.

:: Carol Magill is CIM network manager for Ireland