via Keith Allison

via Keith Allison

One of the most discussed issues is the role of different C-level executives in today’s digitally-led and data-enabled economy. I recently wrote about the need for CEO leadership and active collaboration among the various functions (especially marketing and IT) within a company to deliver holistic and compelling customer experiences.

Easier said than done. It seems that CMOs and CIOs just can’t get along.

Last week, DM News ran another story titled “As CMOs and CIOs Collaborate, There Will Be Growing Pains” that further dimensionalized the Venus and Mars aspect of these two functions. The marketer and the technologist look at different numbers to measure performance and impact. We all know the basic truth. You deliver what you measure. Marketing feels IT should consider their metrics while IT asserts their approach is more rigorous and deliberate.

While these executives continue to battle each other, trying to protect their turfs and their egos, they forget one thing. In today’s hyper-complex economy, the enemy they face is not each other… it is time. Companies need to become digital at the core and they need to get there now!

The different executives in the C-Suite (CMO, CTO, CIO, CFO, CSO, GC, etc.) are what I like to call “single sport athletes”. They are like a Usain Bolt, Michael Jordan, Brett Favre, A-Rod, Tiger Woods and Roger Federer – super stars in their respective sport but lacking skills in other athletic disciplines. To succeed in today’s economy, what we need is a Daley Thompson. We need a Decathlete – capable and competent in multiple (ten) events.

What we don’t need are more “new sport athletes” added to the expanding Executive Suites. We don’t need new Chief Experience Officers or Chief Innovation Officers or Chief Transformation Officers or Chief Digital Officers… you get my drift. A lot of the new execs, based on their focused backgrounds, struggle with the ability to see the big picture.

Today, strategic aptitude matters and speed matters. To succeed, companies need a new kind of a leader. They need Decathletes.

Decathletes who are capable of putting the different pieces together in a way that consistently delivers profitable and sustainable growth of their brands and businesses. Doing it real-time, all-the-time.

This multi-disciplinary approach is the future. And the future is now.



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