4 Reasons My CMO Makes Me a Better COO
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Practical. I think that’s one good adjective to describe me. Being practical has served me well. I’m often the voice that says, “Sure, I know what we want to do, and I understand why that would be great. Here's what it’ll cost in dollars, time, effort and opportunity. How about this streamlined, practical approach that will get us most of the same result?”
That’s usually great – a solid practical approach to getting more things done quicker with less resources expended. Right up until it’s not. And that’s where my CMO comes in. When I’m being too practical is exactly when Steven Handmaker, our Chief Marketing Officer and a fellow member of our executive team, makes me a better COO. How?
1. He’s Annoying
He has an uncanny ability to take a step back, look at something from 30,000 feet and ask a simple question like – “why don’t we just do it like this instead?” He’s usually right, and that’s annoying (even when it’s helpful).
2. He Dreams Big
He dreams big. Well, bigger than me for sure. He thinks of things like, – “Wouldn't it be cool if 90% of our employees completed a 5K in one year?” Then, he makes it reality. I’m pretty good at pushing the boundaries of the box; he helps me get outside the box and dream bigger.
3. He Starts with Communication
I start by looking at problems and figuring out solutions and systems. I ask people along the way and get input on how best to solve the problem, make sure we’ve looked at it from different perspectives and considered consequences. Then, when we’re ready to put a bow on it and roll it out, I think about a communication plan. That stinks for the people who were not part of the process. Steven puts communication first, and he reminds me to do the same – not only in timing, but also in content.
4. He’s Got My Back
Steven supports me when I need to be supported. And, he tells me when he thinks I’m on the wrong path. Both are equally important, and I trust his insights.
As executive leaders, we’re both part of the same Assurance team, working toward the same big results. And because he’s annoying, dreams big, starts with communication and has my back I’m a better Chief Operating Officer because of it.
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