How effective marketing leaders rapidly spot issues and drive solutions

07 December 2021| by Paul Avery

Effective marketing leaders

A marketing department’s ability to thrive is based largely on the people, processes and culture that it comprises. Yet, even with these elements in place, success is not a guarantee. Real life is complicated, and knitting all of these elements together to deliver great work will also bring with it a steady stream of issues for your team to solve. Without regular communication and a focus on resolving issues, you risk sabotaging what may have the potential to be a highly successful marketing team.

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Everyone has issues — and that’s not always a bad thing

For many companies, the word “issue” is often a scary one, indicative of a large, looming, overly complicated problem requiring time, effort, resources and energy to solve. But it’s important to remember that not all issues are bad. For example, while issues can be discussion points about where something’s not working as well as you would like or areas for improvement, they can also be areas of opportunity.

The first and most important step toward being able to effectively solve or seize upon issues is creating the type of environment where people feel comfortable calling them out. Creating this type of transparent environment not only fosters a culture of improvement, but also contributes to your team’s morale (in one study, transparency was the number one factor in determining employee happiness).

As the leader of the department, the Marketing Director sets the tone. Trust begins with you, and when you create an honest and transparent environment, in which issues and opportunities can be discussed openly, you make addressing them that much easier.

Having a mechanism in place for identifying issues is important, as is documenting them for discussion at your next departmental meeting. You can do this by creating an issues list, which will keep them out in the open and organised in one place.

More than just discussing these with your team, it’s important to have a process in place for addressing them. Bring your issues list to your weekly meetings and take the time to examine those of the highest priority and develop and enact concrete solutions, working together as a team to set weekly to-dos to help move you forward. This type of consistent communication is critical to ensuring your team — and organisation — is always progressing.


Connection cadence is critical

In order for your department to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible, there must be constant connection among team members. You can have all of the right components in place, but if your team is not communicating regularly — discussing goals, priorities, achievements, issues (and how to address them) — then you risk remaining stagnant or, worse, moving in the wrong direction.

Communication is the key to solving issues, making sure processes are working and that people are collaborating effectively. Regular meetings offer the best opportunity to foster the type of environment and relationships that lead to effective communication and, ultimately, the success of your department. At BioStrata, we follow the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) created by Gino Wickman, leveraging a proven meeting system that drives engagement and improvement.


The power of weekly meetings

As everyone has busy schedules, it’s important to set a specific day, time, duration and agenda for your weekly meetings so that everyone knows what to expect. Maintaining this connection cadence is essential for keeping everyone moving forward in the same direction.

Often, 60 to 90 minutes provides enough time to cover all that needs discussing, and following a specific structure will help you as you make your way through your itinerary.

Taking a few minutes at the beginning of each meeting for individuals to share news from their personal lives as well as a business “best” from the past week before diving into issues discussions helps elevate the mood and provides an opportunity for team members to get to know each other better. While these meetings are also designed to cover operational items such as to-dos and things happening with your team (i.e., promotions, upcoming leave, etc.), their focus remains largely on discussing and addressing issues.

Using a simple approach, lead your team in first reviewing the issues list and prioritising the top few issues you will focus on that week. The next step is brainstorming how to address an issue and deciding who will lead this effort; often, this is the person who first brought the issue to light. Because it can be difficult, if not impossible, to solve all issues in one meeting, focus on addressing only a few per session, as time allows.

Ultimately, your success as a department hinges on your ability to maintain a constant connection as well as proactive communication with and among your team members — which affects your ability to resolve issues. Being aware of and actively working to address issues is the mark of an effective — and, very often, a successful — marketing department. When you have a clear definition of success and a process for identifying and resolving issues that includes opportunities for regular communication, you enable your team to realise its full potential.

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