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5 Leadership Articles For CMOs During These Uncertain Times

Steve Olenski
Master Principal Sales Architect

These are, of course, very different times we all find ourselves in. And while I continue to struggle with what to write at this moment, I am not a loss for what to read, for there are some truly fantastic pieces being written about topics such as crisis management and leadership.

Here are excerpts linking to five recent articles I think CMOs (and anyone else for that matter) will find useful right now:

Crisis Management: The Overlooked Leadership Skill

The following is an excerpt from “Crisis Management: The Overlooked Leadership Skill” by Gary Burnison.

No one thinks much about a certain leadership quality — until the you-know-what hits the fan.

The quality I’m referring to is crisis management.

Thankfully, true crises are relatively rare occurrences. They are the black swans of leadership.

We’ve done nearly 70 million assessments of executives, so we know what makes a great leader — the best-in-class who are among the top 20%. Our research shows that three of the four qualities of a great business leader are largely intuitive: (1) sets vision and strategy; (2) drives growth; and (3) displays financial acumen.

The fourth is managing crises. It’s underappreciated, overlooked, and often not even one of the top requirements — until a crisis hits.

This is one of those times. A month ago, when the stock market was making all-time highs, only the rare few could have predicted universities would close, companies would tell employees to work from home en masse, and the NBA season would abruptly be suspended, followed by museums, cathedrals, and Broadway.

Click here to read the full article.

These Six Intelligences Will Drive Smart Leadership in Disrupted Times

The following is an excerpt from “These Six Intelligences Will Drive Smart Leadership in Disrupted Times” by John Kao.

Sometimes it takes a crisis to reveal gaps and discontinuities. The coronavirus pandemic has revealed how some leaders are challenged by the unexpected and the need to innovate “ahead of the curve.” The crisis heightens our need to re-evaluate prevailing models of leadership that have sometimes been found wanting.

Coronavirus is an extreme wakeup call, but it is emblematic of an era whose very essence is disruption. Even before the current pandemic, we lived in a perfect storm of accelerated innovation, geopolitical uncertainty and black swans. Noted science fiction author William Gibson captured the singular nature of our times with one comment, “We have no future, because our present is so disrupted.”

Click here to read the full article.

Are You Leading Through the Crisis … or Managing the Response?

The following is an excerpt from “Are You Leading Through the Crisis…or Managing the Response?” by Eric J. Marcus and Leonard Marcus.

The coronavirus crisis, like every crisis, is unfolding over an arc of time with a beginning, middle, and end. It is useful to think what distinguishes what was, is, and will be. There was a past of relative stability and predictability. There now is chaos and disruption. There will be … a different state. As this future unfolds, some organizations will be resilient. For others, this future will be catastrophic. The actions of executives and their teams now, in the midst of this crisis, will significantly determine their fate.

Click here to read the full article.

How Humor Can Be A Leader’s Friend in a Crisis

The following is an excerpt from “How Humor Can Be a Leader’s Friend in a Crisis” by John Baldoni.

There’s an old show business adage that seems perfect for our times. “Life is easy,” goes the saying. “Comedy is hard.”

And so when I connected with Trevor Smith, who bills himself as Certified Laughter Leader of the World Laughter Tour, Inc., I knew he would have some good advice for leaders dealing with the hard times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click here to read the full article.

How to Make Your Teams Stronger in a Crisis

The following is an excerpt from “How to Make Your Teams Stronger in a Crisis” by Phil Kleweno and Pete Gerend.  

The way corporate teams work together has evolved in recent years, moving from top-down and expertise-driven to an approach built around co-creating and purpose. Whereas in the past, executive teams have traditionally focused on planning and reviewing operations at a detailed level, today the best teams are rebalancing their time to emphasize the development of strategy, culture and talent. 

Click here to read the full article.


Find out more about how to show true leadership and set the course for marketing teams in uncertain times with the CMO Spark Newsletter.

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