Future Marketing Manager – T-shaped people, senior promotions and management vs. leadership

At a recent Future Marketing Manager training workshop at Professional Marketing Forum http://www.pmforum.co.uk/training.aspx  we covered a wide range of topics as usual. But during the course there were three career themes that emerged: T-shaped people, senior promotions and management vs. leadership.

T-shaped people

The earliest reference to the metaphor of T-shaped people was by David Guest in 1991 although it is reported that McKinsey & Co management consultancy used the term in recruitment during the 1980s.

The vertical bar of the T is the depth of skills and expertise in a single field.

The horizontal bar of the T is the ability to work across disciplines with experts in other areas and to apply knowledge in areas of expertise other than one’s own. T-shaped people are comfortable in multidisciplinary roles.

Increasingly, people in the professions are encouraged to specialise and so they invest time in developing deeper knowledge about their area of expertise. In marketing and business development within the largest firms there is a high degree of specialisation – especially when we consider digital marketing roles.

However, to work on strategically significant projects and to be promoted to senior management roles, there is a need for a broader perspective with an appreciation of other disciplines such as finance, human resources, operations and technology. This broadening of knowledge and expertise – across the horizontal – is often accompanied by increased commercial knowledge.

This idea is relevant to all professionals – not just marketing and business development specialists. And particularly so in relationship management and Key Account Management (KAM) roles with clients.

Other words to describe the concept include: generalising specialist, technical craftsperson, renaissance developer and master generalist.

Promotion to senior positions

We also reflected that the way in which you achieve promotion early in your career might be different from the way promotion is awarded for more senior positions.

The following table is from the Centre of Creative Leadership:

Success in early management positions is often associated with: Success in more senior leadership positions is often associated with:
Independence Being a team player
Ability to control short term results Having longer term strategic vision
Creativity Managing the creativity of others
Ambition and high standards Self-esteem
Speciality strength General management skills
Being contentious – taking a stand Creating unity and cohesion

Management vs. leadership

And whilst the theme of management vs. leadership is usually tackled in other courses, we did spend some time considering the differences.

“Management is the present, Leadership is the future” Andy Raynor, former CEO of RSM Tenon

Bennis offered the following comparison of management vs leadership:

Manager Leader
Administers Innovates
Is a copy Is an original
Maintains Develops
Focuses on systems/structure Focuses on people
Relies on control Inspires trust
Has a short term view Has a long range perspective
Asks how and when Asks why
Has eye on the bottom line Has eye on the horizon
Imitates Originates
Accepts the status quo Challenges the status quo
Classic good soldier Own person
Does things right Does the right thing