Forbes CMO Leadership Talk: Rashmy Chatterjee, IBM

Rashmy Chatterjee
By Thomas Barta
Last updated: February 03, 2017

In this interview with Rashmy Chatterjee, IBM’s North American CMO, several key insights into successful CMO leadership are highlighted:

  1. Marketing’s Role in Transformation: Marketing at IBM is seen as a transformational function that leads in repositioning the IBM brand across various aspects of the business. It’s recognized as the engine for customer acquisition and retention, lead creation, and owning the client experience and engagement.
  2. Serving Customer and C-Suite Needs: Marketing at IBM focuses on aligning customer needs and IBM’s growth objectives. They concentrate on areas where both IBM and the client can benefit, ensuring a win-win situation.
  3. Proving Marketing’s Worth: IBM holds itself accountable for brand health, client belief, action, and advocacy. They also focus on metrics such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) and the cost of lead generation to demonstrate marketing’s impact.
  4. Building Team Confidence: Rashmy emphasizes trust and empowerment within her team. She encourages her team to challenge the status quo, take risks, and engage in open dialogue. Regular morning huddles, informal discussions, and direct phone calls contribute to building confidence and fostering innovation.
  5. Effective Communication: Rashmy believes in minimizing formal conference calls and prioritizes informal communication channels like phone calls, coffee chats, and walks. Informal discussions are seen as more effective for open and honest conversations.
  6. Understanding Aspirations: One area where Rashmy acknowledges potential shortcomings is in understanding team members’ aspirations. She advises leaders to avoid assuming that everyone shares the same career goals and to take the time to listen and understand individual aspirations.
  7. Handling Conflict: Rashmy advises leaders not to be afraid of conflict and to avoid taking it personally. Conflict can arise when driving toward ambitious goals, but it should be viewed as an opportunity for discussion and improvement. Address real problems but don’t let skeptics deter you from your vision.
  8. Inspiring Your Team: Setting high goals and inspiring your team is essential for success. Rashmy emphasizes the importance of having a shared vision that motivates the team to overcome obstacles, including conflicts, on the path to achieving those goals.

Rashmy Chatterjee’s leadership philosophy centers on trust, empowerment, effective communication, and understanding individual aspirations. She encourages leaders to embrace conflict as part of the journey toward ambitious goals and maintain a shared vision with their teams.