A high-potential marketing executive was tapped to turn around a marketing unit that plays a central role in driving over $3Bn in revenue within a business facing tremendous pressure to grow the top-line. The unit’s performance and morale had been flagging. Leadership turn-over, multiple reorganizations and shifting priorities left the group less productive than the business required. In a classic case of changing the plane while flying it, the new leader’s charge was to both deliver on an aggressive work schedule for the year while transforming the unit and increasing its capabilities to deliver higher value to the enterprise.
Our initial assessments pointed to three core challenges contributing to the unit’s under-performance. First, the value, the role and the direction of the unit were unclear. There was no team at the top leading the unit, the manager group was deeply divided and morale of the overall unit was also low. Lastly, stakeholders had mixed reviews on the unit’s role and the quality of its work. It became clear the leader would need a dual-focus in year one: simultaneously deliver the marketing plan and rebuild the unit.
We supported the marketing head in recalibrating the unit’s priorities and plan for the year while ensuring an appropriate level of focus on rebuilding the fundamentals of the unit: setting a direction, ensuring strong execution on the operating plan and working hard to make key changes to the way the unit was managed. The top team was rebuilt and re-chartered and given just-in-time support throughout the year as it was leading the change. The culture of the unit was re-aligned with the new strategy.
The top executive delivered their business results for the year and increased the capability of the unit to take on higher value work for the business in years to come. Stakeholders reported higher levels of satisfaction and the unit saw more key internal clients seeking them out for critical support. The unit’s morale also improved according to the leadership team. In the coming year the unit was able to focus much more on innovation and execution because the leadership and organization foundations were now in place. The leader of the unit strengthened their change management skills in leading a turn-around, rebuilding the top team, setting a direction and doing the hard work of cascading that direction and desired culture to the whole unit and to stakeholders.