Establishing a Borderless Organization
Here are some thoughts on the marketing organization of the future, and the borderless organization that you should strive for. Many (consultancies) are suggesting that the (digital) transformation of marketing should be led by a Chief Digital Officer (CDO). I strongly disagree. If your CMO and your marketing team are not ready (yet) to tackle related challenges and tasks, then you as leaders better support and train/coach them ASAP, instead of hiding your strategic and organizational weaknesses behind the function of a CDO.
Even if you were lucky enough to find an exceptional candidate to fill out the demanding role of CDO (tech and marketing understanding, strategic mind and strong executer, change manager) and if you were to give her direct business responsibility (which in my opinion is a definite “must“ for such a role), then she should be part of the CMO´s team, and in charge of digital strategy and campaigns, versus being in a separate function or organization. This allows for a borderless organization, and such creates more powers to the team rather than the individual. She should jointly team up with an expect Chief Marketing technologist as her peer to co-lead such initiatives.
The organization´s senior management team will need to create an organization free of department borders and a “silo thinking“ mentality. They need to kick-off and moderate required change initiatives. And over time, they would need to withdraw more and more and to give people freedom so that they can contribute and amaze them based on the belief and commitment of attributing individuals more decision-making authority, providing them with learning opportunities, stimulating virtual teamwork and global project work, and allowing them to self-organize.
The future of marketing – embedded within an accelerating digital transformation process – encompasses essential functions from R&D, sales, finance, legal, HR to strategic business planning. Most importantly, it´s not rooted in machines or algorithms. It´s instead founded on the conviction and knowledge that people as owners will do whatever it takes to make their organizations, projects, and teams succeed.