When you can snatch the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave.” — Master Kan, speaking to the young Caine in Kung Fu.

Today, being a Go To Market leader in an organization is harder than ever.  I’ve written in the past that to be a Go To Market leader, you need to be Part Yoda, Part Leonardo and Part MLK, and I’ve also written about the 8 domain skills that organizations need to have on their team to build leadership that can take their products and services to the top of the market.

So with three personas and 8 domain skills, how can you possibly “do it well”?

Let me suggest one path to being a Go To Market leader that I have found useful in coaching clients, thinking about my career, and making sense of what I see in the world I practice in, Business to Business, or B2B Marketing, I call it the Way of the Go To Market Warrior and it looks like this:

As you can see, we all start as novices, as we learn and achieve the mythical 10,000 hours of practice, we become an expert.   In the Go To Market leadership journey, we first focus on SKILLS, mastering one of the functional skills in Go to Market, be it Messaging and Positioning, Growth Hacking, Events, Sales Enablement, or one of the roles on the skills wheel, whichever you choose or is chosen for you.  But we quickly learn that to increase our impact and build our career, expertise in one skill, however valuable, does not a leader make.  We must become a skills polyglot, like Leonardo DiVinci.  In fact, in the first third of our journey, Leonardo is our spirit guide, and our focus is on skills acquisition. Our Journey looks like this:


While we have upped our impact, skills will only take us so far.  We can have great success, even be seen as a star, but to move the organization further and be a leader, we must expand our knowledge beyond our skills, and catalyze others to drive success.  Our spirit guide for this segment of our Journey is none other than Yoda.  To catalyze success and impact, we must learn the context in which we apply our skills.  In the Go to Market world, this KNOWLEDGE means, deep understanding of the market, the selling and buying process, and the available solutions in the market, both ours and competitions’.  Only with that knowledge can we catalyze our impact to extend not just to our skills, but to top line revenue, customer success and product roadmap.  Our impact reaches beyond our domain and function and we emerge as a leader in the business.  Yoda can take us far!

However, Yoda isn’t so good in a leading a big crowd.  Yoda can coach and mentor you and lead by example in how you grow your knowledge and turn it into a force of impact (pun intended), but he’s not going to be much of the influencer of the big crowd.  Become a master of Go to Market and moving from catalyzing others to leveraging yourself and the organization to accomplish the impossible, requires you to call on INFLUENCE as your focus, and Martin Luthur King as your spirit guide, or even spiritual guide, if you so care! Harnessing your skills and knowledge as the base, we now become the Master, the influencer, the larger than life leader in the organization and beyond.  We are now a true leader and master; skillful ,knowledgeable and influential yet humble and serving.  Our final journey looks like this, the Way of The Go To Market Warrior:

And from here, the journey begins again, with a new challenge and a new set of spirit guides. That’s a matter for a different day!

“The seeds of our destiny are nurtured by the roots of our past” – Master Po to Caine in Kung Fu

This post is dedicated to all my mentors of the past, present and future.  I’ve grabbed a few pebbles and drop some too, but either way you have never failed to inspire me. 
I love to Mentor others and do so with what I hope is mastery, competence and humility, and I consider it one of life’s greatest honors and privileges.  If you are on a journey to leadership in the Go To Market domain, I’d love to connect and see how we can accelerate our journeys together!

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