CMO’s lead teams with “Clear eyes, full hearts.”

CMOs can lead remote teams with a cohesive culture that connects across their networks, employees and their agency partners, transcending geographic and social differences.

I confess to a little binge watching Friday Night Lights here during fall football season! Who doesn’t get fired up when we see legendary Coach Taylor in action with his team?

He got it right with his signature call to come together and win, on the field and in life.

Clear Eyes. Full Hearts.

Can’t lose.”

Team building with Coach Taylor

Certainly there is a lot written on the use of collaboration tools and the newest digital technology to manage remote work practices, (my latest discovery being However, real gain happens when leaders connect people together through the lens of shared cultural values. They can motivate teams with increased empathy grounded in the latest human insights.

Done well, cultural connection becomes the driving power for creativity, innovation and faster activation towards the W in marketing.

Most CMOs today are focused on becoming more agile and more digital to accelerate business transformation; many also strive to coach towards a new cultural mindset, with new ways of remote working.

How to lead a more positive, productive remote work culture across your teams and agency partners

So where does a marketing leader start to connect remote internal teams and amp up successful agency partnerships?

1. Clear Eyes

A well-defined, strong company culture is mission-critical to defining the guideposts for what’s important in marketing today, starting with the customer-centric brand experience; most marketing and advertising teams are tasked with creating noticeable and culturally relevant communication, marked by ongoing customer engagement across media channels and platforms.

Everyone working to do achieve this will benefit from clear guidelines, with a clear eyes on important core values.

Example: Marketing leaders from our newest client, Neighborly, the world’s largest parent company of 19 home service franchise brands, intentionally open every remote meeting with a fun, onscreen reprise of their defining code of values:

RICH. Respect, Integrity, Customer Focus and having Fun along the way.

This repeated behavior not only sets the tone for the team but it frames the discussion and
decision-making that follows.

It is in fact, quite Neighborly.

Neighborly is on a journey to build a world-class leadership brand!

2. Full Hearts

The pandemic has altered what’s on people’s mind and in their hearts. The seismic cultural shift has changed what people value and that impacts the way people want to experience their current work culture.

Understanding this values shift improves CMO leadership communication and builds trust, the cornerstones of team engagement and change management.

In partnership with the Barrett Values Centre, analyzing the data from of 1,400 employees around the globe, it is clear that when we compare core values before and during COVID-19 we see the shift in where team members’ energies are invested.  

  • Increased emphasis on agility and adaptability outpaces the ranking vs other core values.

  • The prior focus on efficiency or process gives way to a focus on people and purpose.

  • People want to find better ways to work together, with cross group collaboration, connectivity and information-sharing emerging as the key organizational values that shape positive team experiences.

  • Individuals continue to place high value on personal development and work/life balance. They are most motivated to work for companies and brands that embrace this flexibly; they are most committed to those with a higher sense of purpose, defined as societal impact and making a positive contribution to the world at large.

  • Because personal development and growth is important to people, mentoring others with positive and candid affirmation, sharing information freely will give energy to employees and collaborative work teams. This emotional plus rationale context increases overall engagement, commitment and quality of work effort.

Yes, Cultural Values have shifted during the Pandemic:





Positive affirmation and feedback is especially important to keeping hearts full within the creative services industry!

Industry veteran Mark DiMassimo, founder of DiMassimo/Goldstein (DiGo) explains the impact of cultural empathy on employee growth and engagement in this way:

Our POV is that most management is still negative management, and negative management fails even faster working at a distance. Negative management is setting expectations and then telling people all the ways they fall short,” said DiMassimo.  

Positive Leadership focuses on strengths. We spend time each week learning about our own and each other’s unique strengths, not just at the leader level, but everyone. Our job isn’t to meet expectations, but to tap everyone’s unique strengths to exceed client expectations. This way, we all feel seen, and we grow. This is a positive behavior change that works,” he continued.

“Our job isn’t to meet expectations, but to tap everyone’s unique strengths to exceed client expectations.
This way, we all feel seen, and we grow.”
Mark DiMassimo, DiMassimo Goldstein Founder
Healthy Organizational Cultures in the Advertising Industry

DiGo is an agency with strong culture that is focused on driving positive behavior change in the world, manifested in brand experience for clients like WW, Echelon, Hello Fresh, Better Help, and Partnership to End Addiction.

3. Can’t Lose

Today leaders work together with their teams. The traditional hierarchical org model has given way to a more accessible and participatory leadership style. Working remotely with digital platforms further enables marketing leaders to be more accessible to teams and directly involved with widely networked resources.

Quality relationships with internal teams and agency partners is possible despite physical distancing. Video platforms allow for a greater connection across groups with better interpretation of individual tone, context, and body language. Often literally side by side on Zoom, leaders can lean in and participate, hearing broader conversation with dissident views; they can provide feedback and guide client-agency work streams in real-time.

Leadership participation with clear direction is a form of mentoring. It also builds team confidence and increases forward momentum.

TIP: An easy strategy to increase cultural connection is for team leaders to open meetings with an informal question even among those we think we know; end the meeting with an affirmation of the most positive part of the conversation.

Great team leaders also create space so employees and agency team members can feel comfortable sharing what challenges they are facing and what they may need to advance work in progress.

Private Social channels like Instagram also provide a way to build a sense of connected community among client-agency teams, share fun ideas or view relevant video content.

Extra Points:

What would Coach Taylor say is the number one core value that impacts team success?

Answer: Trust.

We see trust show up in marketing and advertising industry practices in these important ways:

Trust is the cornerstone of decision for a company and its leadership team to hire one qualified agency over another.

Trust is increased when there is strong alignment with cultural fit between organizations.

Trust is the bonding agent that ensures people working on remote teams can be vulnerable yet comfortable bringing their full selves to their work experiences.

Trust happens quickly when people feel a sense of belonging to a team that values who they are and what they can offer.

Be Ready for your 2022 Season

With clear eyes and full hearts, marketing and agency team leaders can borrow a page from Coach Taylor’s playbook, increase their cultural empathy and coach their teams towards resounding success.

Seeking agency partners that align with company values?

Everything Good starts with Cultural Fit.™