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Steer Your Ship

As I’ve grown Allocadia over the past few years, my husband has been an invaluable sounding board, confidant, and advisor. When I talk about the challenges and opportunities we’re seeing in the business, he reminds me: “Steer your ship.” This simple piece of leadership advice has become a daily mantra for me.

Whether you’re leading a company, a global marketing department, or just one team of people, steering the ship is important. But what does that mean, exactly? I’ve learned a lot of leadership lessons as I’ve grown Allocadia, and this is what steering my ship means to me:

1. Know what’s most important.

For our business, the top priority is building systems that can scale across all of our teams and drive revenue growth. And what’s most important isn’t necessarily static. Priorities are always evolving and changing. I’ve learned to constantly ask myself what we need to do first to accomplish our biggest goals (and no matter who or what you’re leading, those goals almost always boil down to two words: more revenue!)

2. Enable your team to succeed.

Once you know what’s most critical, leadership is about taking responsibility for what needs to happen, and ensuring it happens. At Allocadia, we’ve set out clear “growth initiatives” and as leaders, we’re responsible for ensuring they happen. You initiate change as a leader. That can mean mentoring your team or making sure everyone understands the urgency and importance of priority projects. Sometimes, initiating change as a leader can also mean rolling up your sleeves and digging in. Mentor your people, and teach them to steer their own ships. Enable your team to succeed.

3. Hold yourself accountable to results.

Steering your ship means you have to make results happen. Don’t stop at a plan, a thought or a goal. You need to cross the finish line with projects or tasks that move you toward where you need to go. When it’s clear what’s important, and you’ve worked with your team to identify your priorities and made sure your goals are top of mind for all your leaders, then you have to focus on delivering.

4. Understand your role as a leader.

Leading successfully requires having the right perspective on your own role. As a leader, you have a tremendous sense of ownership and responsibility. But, that doesn’t mean that you need to accomplish everything on your own. Trust your team. Your role is to drive change (big and small) and initiate positive outcomes. Know where you can make the biggest impact.

5. Think like your customers.

Steering the ship at Allocadia means making sure the team — everyone from development to customer service to sales — is relentlessly thinking about the value we deliver our customers. How can we improve that value? How can we keep a customer lens on everything we do and say? We recently announced a $7 million round of financing. That financing will help us accomplish our goal of helping marketers become more revenue-driven. Our business is here to support marketers and improve their business. Steering this ship is about keeping a constant customer value focus in everything we do.

Every day, I continue to learn new lessons from steering this ship. I’m happy to work with a motivated, hard-working team and customers who make it all worthwhile! What do you do to steer your ship?

As CEO of Allocadia, I’ve had to learn to lead in a rapidly growing, fast-moving market. And as marketers building Allocadia, we have learned a lot about selling to CMOs: their needs and challenges, and the exciting opportunities that lie ahead in this new Marketing 2.0 world. This Leading in Change: CEO Blog Series is intended to help inspire CMOs and marketing operations to lead and build data-driven marketing organizations.