December 4, 2013

How Do You Hire? Top CMOs Talk Talent

Ask almost anyone in a corporate leadership role, and they’ll tell you that the success or failure of a company depends less on corporate structure and a great logo than it does on that hard-to-define, oh-so-important secret sauce: the human element. A great leader cannot be successful without surrounding him or herself with a great team of people who embody the goals and values of the company. And on the flip side, many a company has failed because the wrong team was in place.

I recently interviewed a few of the top CMOs in the country in correlation with The First Annual CMO Awards, hosted by The CMO Club. Many of them agreed that they are only as strong as the team they surround themselves with – and that drinking the corporate Kool-Aidis not a bad thing at all.

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John Costello (President, Global Marketing & Innovation, Dunkin Brands): “Like any organization, there will always be the occasional road block, but I’ve worked hard to hire positive, proactive individuals who are strong communicators and adopt a solutions-oriented approach. Our industry is incredibly fast-paced and ever-changing, so we can’t let road blocks slow us down. Leading by example and encouraging people and teams to take initiative, has been a powerful recipe for success.”  

Marty St. George (SVP, Marketing & Commercial, JetBlue Airways): “My top 3 priorities are talent, talent and talent. We are always looking for brand evangelists. It’s easy to find people who can do the work, but it’s much tougher to find people who treat the brand like it’s their baby.”

Sheryl Adkins-Green (CMO, Mary Kay Inc): “There is a core that resonates [among our team] in terms of how this opportunity is really meant to be more than just about cosmetics. It’s about empowering women, really helping them discover their inner beauty, their confidence, their passion and helping them discover their special gifts through the opportunity. There are typically meetings and discussions that the Independent Beauty Consultants and directors would have with someone as they are considering this opportunity. It’s not a screening process per se, but there are connections and conversations that help identify our culture and values and help them make a decision. They share some of the things that we aspire to be.”