New Study Identifies Major Psychological Differences Between CMOs And Their C-Suite Peers


Forbes | December 21, 2015

The Forbes article, "New Study Identifies Major Psychological Differences between CMOs and Their C-Suite Peers," features the Russell Reynolds Associates study, “Inside the Mind of the CMO.” Richard Sanderson and Norm Yustin are also quoted in the article, explaining the major differences between CMOs and their C-Suite counterparts. . The article is excerpted below.

What makes CMOs great at their jobs is also the source of friction they often experience with their CFO peers. In a new study by the executive search firm Russell Reynolds, the attributes of “imaginative,” “unconventional” and “tests limits” make CMOs great leaders of transformation and growth initiatives. But these same attributes are dramatically different than most CFOs and may be the source of the relationship challenges CMOs and CFOs often face.

According to the report’s co-author Richard Sanderson, co-leader of Russell Reynolds CMO practice, “We asked a number of CMOs and CFOs to take an online assessment based on 60 psychometric and behavioral attributes and then compared the significant differences between the groups and other members of the C-Suite. What was really unusual about the CMO is they have the most extreme personality in the entire C-suite. For example, the attribute ‘imaginative’ is a description of someone who enjoys brainstorming and novel ideas. We see a high score as indicative of someone who is strategic in their thinking, willing to ‘think outside the box’ and embrace risk – the CMO profile. This is in stark contrast with the CFO style which is much more conventional and risk averse.”

Norm Yustin, Sanderson’s co-author and co-leader of the CMO practice at Russell Reynolds, added “We were fascinated that the level of differences between the CMO and the other members of the C-suite were so extreme. That is where some of the tensions can come from.”

To read the full article, click here.

Sign up for our newsletter

Get the newsletter that prepares you for what's next with valuable insights across industries and geographies.
New Study Identifies Major Psychological Differences Between CMOs And Their C-Suite Peers