So, you’re a founder and a CEO with no or little experience in marketing who needs to hire a CMO, VP or Head of Marketing.
You know you want to grow revenue fast but you might be skeptical about marketing. How can you ensure that whoever you bring on board is going to help you build a rocket ship?
As with any key hire, the impact on the company success is hard to overstate. An “A” player will help the company achieve and exceed its goals. An “A player” will also build and continually develop a team of “A+” players. They, in turn, will help you fill key marketing leadership roles from inside.
A lot of smart and experienced people tried addressing this topic. I think I can bring unique perspective coming from marketing myself.
I had a chance to work for companies with very different corporate cultures. In my experience culture does not just happen. Instead, it should be deliberately designed and reinforced. So I found this Harvard Business Review article relevant and insightful:
Think carefully about each of these four elements:
- Incentives are a basic element of doing good work. People should be paid fairly and competitively for their roles, and increases in compensation should be a predictable process. In addition to pay, the culture should work to reward results generated versus hours worked. Employees shouldn’t feel anxious about how visible they are in the office or on projects, and strict timekeeping can create a sense of mistrust between teams and management. Lastly, and this is something we care about a lot, good failure should not result in career suicide.
- Context and rules will determine what rituals and processes allow people to do great work. If initiative is punished instead of rewarded, people will feel less compelled to push new ideas internally. The ability to make quick judgment calls and move decisions forward will outpace any lengthy or cumbersome internal approvals process. The same goes for autonomy and flexibility—do you trust your teams to lead while you get out of the way? Are teams allowed to participate in flexible work options that encourage their productivity? Your teams need the right tools and resources to do their job—are they spending more time fighting for what they need? If access to those resources is limited, individuals will be less inclined to take part in initiatives with so many blockers in front of them.
- People are the core of a great organization and the processes and systems you use to hire, promote, and reward them can be both enablers and blockers. Bob Sutton’s famous “no asshole rule” is an important factor when hiring people for your company, especially if they’re “star performers”. Sutton believes that star performers who are demeaning can wreak havoc on organizations. You just can’t compromise your business on people like that.
- Leadership has to play a role in the culture if the whole organization is to transform. And leading by example is a pivotal component of management enablers (and blockers: leadership can lead by poor example as well, of course). If leadership exhibits the behaviors expected of teams and individuals, then people in the organization will follow suit.
Free, open to everyone and highly educational Stanford class “How to Start a Startup” has just ended. But all the materials, including talks by star speakers, such as Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Ben Horowitz, Sam Altman, Brian Chesky and others are going to be available online. For quick reference, here is the complete collection of all course materials:
||Sam Altman, President, Y Combinator
Dustin Moskovitz, Cofounder, Facebook, Cofounder, Asana, Cofounder, Good Ventures
|Welcome, and Ideas, Products, Teams and Execution Part I
Why to Start a Startup
||Sam Altman, President, Y Combinator
||Ideas, Products, Teams and Execution Part II
||Paul Graham, Founder, Y Combinator
||Before the Startup
||Adora Cheung, Founder, Homejoy
||Building Product, Talking to Users, and Growing
||Peter Thiel, Founder, Paypal, Founder, Palantir, and Founder, Founders Fund
||Competition is For Losers
There was a mention in the “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” of “Good Product Manager – Bad Product Manager” document written by Ben Horowitz himself during his tenure as Opsware CEO.
Here is the full version found on khoslaventures.com worth reading: