Last week I found myself in in Paris listening to Professor Gareth Jones when he made a statement that struck me as lightning… “over time, your technical competencies WILL DECLINE. You must get things done through people.”
The thought, realization and digestion of the fact that at some point in my career, I will decline technically is frightening to me. I realize that I don’t do everything well. But one thing that I obsessively work on is my marketing technical knowledge. Why? Because I’m a practitioner – that is I make a living out of my marketing skills.
To be the best marketer I can possibly be, I proactively seek to relentlessly improve my skills. I devour new books, participate in industry forums and follow thought leaders with the intent to raise my performance level. Yet, deep in my heart, I know that Professor Jones’ statement is true. It’s probably happening already whether, I’m willing to face it or not.
Expand Your Marketing Leadership
After walking off the ledge, I can face the statement with a renewed confidence. Yes, my technical skills may decline – though I will tirelessly work to remain relevant. And yes, others will come along who surely will outperform me. But the key is to achieve excellence through people.
I happen to directly manage a very talented team so by position I’m a leader. But you don’t need direct reports to lead. Professor Jones defines a follower as anyone you need to excite to exceptional performance. It may be your agency, your peers or your management. We all have followers who, when leveraged, can raise our performance to higher standards. I use the word leverage in the context of collaboration, synergies, and interdependent relationships.
The objective is to unleash incredible value through others, regardless of your technical competencies. This type of ‘know-how’ unlike technical ability, gets better with time and experience. Therefore, for a bread-winning marketer like me, it’s the way to stay on top of the performance game, in spite of future skill deterioration.
The C.A.S.E. Leadership Framework
To excite others to exceptional performance you have to meet your follower’s needs. Professor Jones has combined his body of professional knowledge, both in the private sector and academia to provide a workable framework.
- Community – build a purpose to belong and provide the social context for meaningful connections.
- Authenticity – be who you are, genuinely. Capitalize on your strengths and be open about your areas of development.
- Significance – feedback, recognition and celebrations are key to your followers.
- Excitement – be a model for energy, enthusiasm and passion, but all within your authentic capability.
The theory is that working through this framework you can excite others to exceptional performance. The acid test to for leaders is the question: why should others be led by you? You can download a free copy of the original article from Harvard Business Review.
I believe Professor Jones is right on, whether you’re new on the job or experienced. Getting work done by inspiring others is much more powerful than relying on your technical skills – combining both is optimal. C.A.S.E. provides a framework for me, even as an eighteen year veteran, to remain on top of my performance, even if my skills deteriorate.