Magazine article Marketing

Steve Radcliffe

Magazine article Marketing

Steve Radcliffe

Article excerpt

Great marketers stand out because of their 'energies', the leadership tutor tells Noelle McElhatton[QQ].

The 'L' word is back in the headlines, thanks to the leadership crisis at the BBC. Tony Hall, its incoming director-general, went to the heart of the issue last week when he vowed to help acting director-general, and former Procter & Gamble marketer, Tim Davie, tackle the corporation's senior leadership vacuum by building a 'world-class' team.

Doubtless, a queue of leadership gurus has formed to help Davie and Hall achieve this. Another former P&G marketer, Steve Radcliffe, chief tutor on The Marketing Society's Marketing Leaders Programme (MLP), for rising stars, argues this 'leadership industry' has made the discipline unnecessarily complicated. He is not being facetious; his book on the topic, published in 2009, is called Leadership Plain and Simple.

According to Radcliffe, who has coached chief executives from Boots, First Direct and Unilever, as well as the heads of the Football Association and civil-service leaders such as Lord O'Donnell, the BBC should ask itself a simple question. 'It has to start with: 'What future do we want to build?'' he says.

The BBC's tribulations are not Radcliffe's concern, however. Sitting alongside a former client, Aviva chief marketing officer Amanda Mackenzie, in her office overlooking the City, Radcliffe is keen to share his observations on marketing leadership.

What should Tim Davie be thinking?

A fantastic Harvard Business Review paper (1989) called 'Strategic Intent', by Gary Hamel and CK Prahalad, says organisations that truly succeed do not start thinking about 'how good are we now?', but rather 'how great do we want to be?' The BBC should get clear on where it is, but get much clearer on where it wants to be.

What marks out great marketing leaders?

It isn't people who are better at planning or social media or anything specific - they are a certain way. 'Future, engage, deliver' are the common ingredients. To be a great marketeer, you have to be in each of the three spaces.

Can a marketer be all three?

I walk into a room once a year with the MLP group, with some of the finest marketing talent in the country, and many of them don't think of themselves as leaders. We introduce them to something as simple as 'make sure you're up to something in the future'. (But) rarely do we come across someone who is good at 'future, engage and deliver'. …

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