blog articles

Wanting change doesn’t mean you can handle change

Late­ly, I’ve talked with a few mar­ket­ing execs who say they want to be inno­v­a­tive, but they can’t right now. It seems their man­agers want change, so they hire some­one and tell them to change the way the com­pa­ny mar­kets itself. But when the mar­ket­ing execs want to do some­thing dif­fer­ent, the CEO vetoes the change.

So how, exact­ly, are they sup­posed to make changes, if they have no pow­er (only respon­si­bil­i­ty, which does­n’t make sense to my Army brat sen­si­bil­i­ties)?

One might say that the CEO is ulti­mate­ly respon­si­ble, and should have veto pow­er. But the ques­tion remains: why would he hire some­one who sug­gests such risks? Who’s respon­si­ble for that deci­sion? And why does it hap­pen so often?

I think my step dad (a retired Army offi­cer) would say that, if he were that CEO, he’d have to turn the blame inward at some point. Because maybe the prob­lem is that he needs to work on his own lead­er­ship skills.

The fact of the mat­ter is, say­ing you want change and being able to lead it are two dif­fer­ent things. If the CEO does­n’t under­stand how to lead change, then he can’t hire some­one to take all the risks for him, and then blame that per­son for fail­ure.

So don’t fire your mar­ket­ing per­son. First, hire some­one who can help you grow in your abil­i­ty to lead your orga­ni­za­tion. Because it has to come from you. When you out­source your own lead­er­ship respon­si­bil­i­ties to your mar­ket­ing man­ag­er, but don’t give them your pow­er, they can only ever fail.