Being a manager in the agile organisation: connect, don’t divide

Delving deeper into what we can learn from forward-looking organisations, we can clearly identify a number of courses of action. In a previous blog post, we discussed why you should constantly invest in new marketing skills and how to connect "rebels" to your "cause". In this article we look at the new role of team managers in the new way of working of these pioneers.

Servant and substantive leadership

The team manager’s role has changed substantially in the new way of working of these pioneers. They are at the team’s service, instead of managing the team. Instead of dividing, they connect. Not everyone is capable of demonstrating substantive leadership. This may seem counter-intuitive, especially if this is the team manager’s first ever management position. Not the manager, but the team is the priority here. That is why some organisations choose to work with (very) autonomous teams in some cases.

At the same time, it doesn’t make the role of the marketing director or CMO any easier. Traditionally, they tend to thoroughly restructure the organisation after their appointment. For the most part, the same people end up doing more or less the same job in slightly different positions, and sometimes also with other managers. The pioneers like to believe in transformation rather than reorganisation. They don’t believe in redesigning the hierarchical organisational structure. Instead they prefer to execute daily operations in a different way, creating the right frameworks for this.

After reorganisations, the same people tend to do more or less the same job with a slightly different name

The traditional job description becomes irrelevant

As a result the job description has become almost irrelevant in certain organisations. When asked about the responsibilities of the communication manager of an online insurance company, the manager indicated that she spent less than 10% of her time on the tasks set out in her job description.  Instead she spent just under 90% of her time stimulating the autonomy of the teams she mentored.

It is important to properly define the process, precisely because this is a gentle revolution rather than an (obvious) and often temporarily debilitating reorganisation.  Pioneers do this, for example, by giving the teams their very own, physical identity, right down to the layout and design of the office in which they work. Start-ups apply a similar approach. A number of bold moves also clearly indicate that things are getting serious on the management level. This may include reducing or shortening a number of consultation meetings and even reorganising them. Or removing a number of time-consuming BiLas from your calendar, because they feel like an obligation. Some of the organisations we assist spend less than 20% of their time on their core activities (campaigns, customer engagement activities)!

Some organisations spend less than 20% of their time on core activities such as campaigns!

Another phenomenon that is typical of these pioneers is that they believe in “travelling light”.  Make sure you reduce the ballast to a minimum before any change. Striking the right balance in terms of owned assets and hired assets. Both in terms of people, systems, channels and media platforms. Leading to a substantial reduction in the number of people in the marketing organisation, as well as a strong quality injection.

Marketing minded ecosystem

All this is only possible in an organisation in which everyone realises that commerce is a joint activity. Preferably organised based on a Marketing Leadership idea, in which the customer(‘s need) is top of mind and central to everything. So you can jointly develop this.  Where the systems facilitate this rather than frustrating the effort.

Obviously there is also a substantial difference between organisations in which physical products pass a cash register versus service organisations. With the former achieving almost direct feedback and measurability.  And the marketing department of service providers also has to take on several additional chores. E.g., collecting and organising customer data, which can be utilised sometime in the future.

The difference between the pioneers and the others is not that they are already completely organised.  However, they are not deterred from working towards their ambition in spite of the imperfections: doing better every day to benefit their customers.

#agile #agile organisation #marketingorganisation

Taking your marketing organisation to a higher level

We discuss all the development paths in our white paper “Taking your marketing organisation to a higher level” in further detail, e.g., why you should continuously invest in new marketing competences and how you should create space and autonomy for your teams.