Article Series
Welcome to the Team Part Two: Leadership
01 February 2018

Welcome to the Team:
A guide for getting up-to-speed in your new marketing leadership role

Part Two:
Leadership: Understanding the Culture of your new Organization

The late nineties, early-2000’s explosion of reality television made us all de facto experts on the character of people.

Disregarding the show’s editing, how many times did you bond with your friends over who you were “rooting” for on Idol, or The Amazing Race, or The Bachelor/Bachelorette.
Character and soft skills are important ingredients to leadership. These are qualitative attributes that make the difference between who to rally behind, and who to ignore.

It’s important to evaluate the qualitative leadership attributes as much as the qualitative when getting-to-know the leaders at an organization. After all, projects don’t really fail – people do.
That’s not meant to sound pessimistic. It’s meant to make you aware that progress is nearly impossible without acknowledging the political landmines in an organization.

If you’re a marketer looking to make your … mark – you need to get the political lay of the land. This effort transcends a cursory evaluation of marketing and sales alignment, and extends to the culture and values of the organization.

  • Are they growth-minded at all costs?
  • What are the attempts at cross-functional collaboration (especially in quarterly or bi-annual planning)?
  • How do the strategic goals impact (or better still, depend on) each function pulling its weight?

Perception through the eyes of another is important.

  • What does the leadership team perceive the organization’s strengths and weaknesses to be (and does that line up with your assessment)?\
  • When was the last re-organization, and why did it occur?
  • Has there been more than one in the last five years?

It’s also worth inquiring about what your peers are looking for from the marketing function and what their frustrations with marketing have been in the past. Set the tone of the inquiry to be thoughtful and pivot the discussion if it turns into a gripe session.

Experience and influence will reveal itself in these conversations and it’s your job to take note.

I’ve included a document of interview questions that I use as a guide when I’m doing discovery with a new client’s leadership team.

Take me to the Interview Guide

In the next article, we’ll delve into the important things to learn about the Content and Communications function of your new organization.

Welcome to the Team: a Guide for Getting up-to-to-speed – Part One


Ashley Shailer
By: Ashley Shailer
Ashley has spent more than ten years designing and implementing world-class demand creation and lead management strategies that leverage the latest in marketing technology. She’s held client-side and analyst roles in marketing systems and marketing operations, and consulting roles that leverage her unique expertise in lead nurturing, account-based plays, content, messaging, and social media strategy for more than 40 clients.

In her spare time, she can be found enjoying a good super hero movie, a solid single malt, and dessert (not necessarily in that order).
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Ashley Shailer
By: Ashley Shailer

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