The Insights Blog

A CMO tip: streamline the to-do list to get more done

A CMO tip: streamline the to-do list to get more done

There is an epidemic of wishful thinking in industry today: objectives that are too lofty, priority lists that are overwhelming and bottomless project lists are the norm. Wall Street has lofty expectations and company leadership often demands more than their organizations have the capacity to deliver. And they certainly often demand more than their organizations have the capacity to deliver well.

Enter the modern day CMO, an executive with one of the hardest and most demanding jobs in the history of business. The CMO is often tasked with driving topline growth, delivering bottom line results, enhancing an organization’s capabilities, overseeing overall customer experience and driving company transformation. It’s tiring to simply write that list, much less be responsible for delivering it!

In this overwhelming environment, how can a CMO streamline the to-do list to enable their teams to perform better and achieve more?

The primary job of the CMO is to manage priorities in a manner that helps the organization to succeed. In virtually all situations, this means reducing the workload. Quantity kills; quality sets you free.

While there is no one size fits all approach to how to reduce the project list, there is a critical day to day behavior that can dramatically help your organization succeed:

Make decisions briskly and live with them.

Nothing complicates an organization more than an executive that prevents efforts from “finishing.” Executives that constantly revisit the same work, seeking new “looks” and new versions, end up debilitating the organization. Make a principled decision, own it, communicate it and move along.

By trying to do less, your team will actually get more done. The work will be better. And better results will follow.

Steve Boehler, founder, and partner at Mercer Island Group has led consulting teams on behalf of clients as diverse as Zillow Group, Microsoft, UScellular, Nintendo, Ulta Beauty, Stop & Shop, Qualcomm, Brooks Running, and numerous others. He founded MIG after serving as a division president in a Fortune 100 when he was only 32. Earlier in his career, Steve Boehler cut his teeth with a decade in Brand Management at Procter & Gamble, leading brands like Tide, Pringles, and Jif.