As I’ve written in my previous post being a Go To Market Leader is hard. You need the knowledge of the Jedi Master, the broad skill-set of a Renaissance Man and the influence of a great evangelist. This is not only a challenge for individuals, but even more so for senior organizational leaders who must identify and develop these leaders.
Just last month, I visited a prospect, let’s call them Acme Corp. Acme’s CEO, let’s call her Connie, was nearly despondent in her inability to find true go market leaders on her team. She told me that no matter who she challenges, they seem to come up short in either skills, knowledge or their ability to lead the organization forward. “I can lead the go to market for the team, but I’ve got fundraising and product challenges that right now are consuming me,” she told me. “And hiring that person is proving to be beyond difficult.”
I’d like to say that Connie’s challenge is unique and one of. But over the last 5 yrs, and at an increasing rate lately, I see organizations of all sizes challenged with enabling the next set of Go To Market Leaders for growth and success. And without a handful of effective go to market leaders, organizations won’t leverage and innovate they way they need to in order to lead and win their markets.
I think this challenge comes down to three things.
- First, the potential Go To Market Leaders in the organization are so focused on task, they simply can’t develop the breadth of skills and knowledge they need to lead. We depend on “getting lucky” by hoping that new leaders magically emerge from the crucible of busy-ness, but this rarely happens.
- Second, the role models who must coach and nurture these up and comers, are themselves task overloaded, and when they do find time it is nearly always a skills based or crisis based intervention. Role-modeling problem solving is great, but again, when ad-hoc and crisis driven, rarely grows leadership skills in the follower.
- Lastly, when we do actually find the time to develop a person or team, it is nearly always focused on the organization meeting its goals, not growing the team. For example, the annual offsite spends most of its time on planning and tactics. In the rare time we do focus on “development”, it’s usually “team building”, which sadly usually doesn’t further organizational goals OR develop leaders. Or, we send the individual off on a seminar for “personal development”, which kinda, but never really ties much to the organization’s goals.
Clearly we need a new approach. One that not only helps drive organizational goals, but develops the leader at the same time, by aligning the participant’s personal growth with the organization’s goals. When you do this, you get engagement and results, and can grow the next generation of leaders quickly and effectively. One innovative approach to this challenge is to build a “Go To Market Leadership Dojo”. The Go to Market Dojo builds the leaders that the organization needs to meet its goals, and does it in a way that is rewarding and meaningful to the participants.