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.
Perception through the eyes of another is important.
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.