Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Great CMO Getaways

Annual appraisals, budget planning, strategy reviews, holiday gatherings, awards functions...and voila its already mid-December! Sometimes we are so focused on being the most efficient CMO, trying to be in as many places at once that we don't give ourselves the space to think or even think differently. The CMO Study shows that the #1 skill CMOs feel they need to be successful over the next 3-5 years is not social media or KYC or any other skill they run daily webcasts on. Its leadership. So what better place to grow your leadership skills than to find role models in the industry...other CMOs, right? Not quite.


Over the last couple of years, I have been attending CMO meet after CMO meet. While these are good opportunities to learn about what my peer CMOs are doing, especially in some of the new areas like social media and mobile, when it comes to finding shining examples of effective leadership and breakthrough thinking, I was frankly left rather uninspired. In a market where the #1 source of information for strategic decision making is competitive benchmarking (per the CMO Study), are Desi CMOs becoming a homogenous race who execute the same campaigns with different agencies, deliver the same messages through different media? Isn't this a recipe for extinction? At this rate, we might as well all report to the CFO and spend our time negotiating with agencies on a cheap, fast facebook campaign (oh wait, some of us are already there as I witnessed from reviewing 80 award entries last week for the digital campaigns of which a majority looked identical).

So this weekend, I ventured to Jaipur for some fresh air and space to think...no, not by sitting around at a 500 year old fort palace..but to attend INKTalks (former TEDIndia) #INKConference. I listened to artists, musicians, writers, adventurers, scientists, astronauts, social activists and even the fakeIPLplayer blogger talk about their journeys and what they learned. Each only presented between 8-15 minutes talks but each perspective was so unique and so refreshing, it activated new parts of my mind which I hope can bring some fresh thinking to my business. I took away something from every session but when it comes to leadership I session that struck a cord for me was by Itay Talgam, The Israeli Conductor who showed us what leadership was through clips of great conductors. Just watching Leonard Bernstein conduct with his smile, eyebrows and shoulders was inspiring!

I hope you get to check out the videos of the various talks and get some fresh thinking and inspiration for the new year. And do share your thoughts on one or more of the sessions and how it relates to our function! If you attended yourselves, share your learnings!

1 comment:

  1. Karthi Kumar MarshanJanuary 18, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    Virginia,

    Tks much for the tip on Itay's talk. While i cd not find it at all on INK's site, youtube threw up a Ted Talk by him, and boy was it great! One of the most illuminating and entertaining talks on leadership i have seen. Tks again for sharing.

    Karthi Marshan

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