Profile: Jeremy Gilley

The man marketing world peace

A winning team is made up of great individuals and captained by a true leader

This week I haven’t done anything to help meet the needs of our customers nor have I helped to grow the profits of my business. Instead, I have been helping to organise a trip for my group chief executive to the UK.

Secret Marketer

Now, don’t get me wrong. The role I have played has been important to my business. It is essential that the big boss knows that the UK is in good shape. We need to sell and position ourselves, showing our region in the best light. And since he is on his way to the UK after spending  a few days in Germany, it is very important that we do a better job than them.

But my message this week is one of ‘too many cooks’. Trying to organise hotels, limousines, meetings with customers, board meetings and meetings with young talent, has not been without its challenges. 

Things really came unstuck when I was presented with the final itinerary to the chief executive’s own office. Clearly, his team wanted to add some value, so started to suggest changes in timing, adding extra ‘free time’ and the like – none of which was in the original brief. Naturally, after much gnashing of teeth, this was all complied with, but how much easier it would have been if I had been left alone to get on with it. 

Which got me thinking. We were all taught that two minds are better than one. But is that true? I remember going to a job interview for the role of chief marketing officer (CMO) of a big high street bank about four years ago, only to discover that there were nine CMOs in the business. No wonder they are now in a mess. How can there be nine ‘chief’ anythings? Surely the clue is in the title?

I personally have a different perspective. A winning team is made up of great individuals, experts in their respective fields, but who do not encroach on one another’s territory. It is captained by a true leader, who has set out the end game, and has everyone focused on delivering that goal. He or she may challenge and guide but is there to ultimately support and get the right result.

But how many businesses are truly set up that way? Why does everyone feel that their opinion ‘adds value’? Is democracy really right for business?

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