Volume I: Setting the table

There have been a flurry of articles lately talking about the new skills of the CMO and/or CIO. Marketing News, Adweek, Adage and many, many more blogs, podcasts and story lines have talked about the transition. What I find interesting is the DNA, the skills, some learned, some inherent are usually brushed over as if you can just pivot. (Yes pivot is overused but I’m not getting out a thesaurus).

Regardless of your role as a “Chief” or Executive Officer I believe there is DNA, Skills and Experience that doesn’t just transition. So what are those that apply to the CMO, CIO, CEO, CFO, COO – or the fun new Chief Revenue, Chief Data, Chief Experience or Chief Digital Officers? The new titles by the way are roles manifesting themselves in organizations because the other CxO’s don’t have the DNA, skills or experience – at least not yet.

Right brain, left brain. Yep, both have to be engaged in a delicate tug of war balancing the creative with the logical; experiential with technical; emotional with data driven. So let me pick these a part a bit as we look forward to the men and women that will have to evolve to help drive our companies. You might say to yourself, well I possess some of those. The issue is that, IMHO, the CFO needs to have an appreciation for Creative or Data as much as the CMO needs to have the ability to use Data and Political Prowess to build a financial business case. You probably don’t hear Cash Flow, Hurdle Rate, Multi-variant Testing, Design Thinking and Agile Marketing coming from the same person (often), but you should.

In the following series around this topic I’ll list the DNA I believe are essential for leadership to navigate the turbulent but rewarding waters of Digital Transformation. Because in the end this isn’t a choice but a requirement to extend and rip down the friction that legacy systems, organizational design, fixed mindsets and archaic P&L’s to really be competitive. Otherwise you can park your brand name next to Fortune 500’s that are shuttering or declining with an inevitable end.