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Where does the most influence reside in your organization?


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from over 240,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

Where does the most influence reside in your organization?

  • Marketing is the top dog: 8%
  • Product is king: 13%
  • Finance rules all: 21%
  • Operations is in charge: 21%
  • R&D is above all others: 2%
  • Sales, sales, sales: 26%
  • Someone else: 9%

Know who the alpha is. There’s a broad spectrum of which function is top dog at your companies. Industry is likely a major determinant. Make sure you understand the implications of who the alpha is and how you get things approved. For the 21% of you where Finance is king, be careful that longer-term strategic work doesn’t fall victim to near-term budget pressures. While it’s important that a business make money, letting the numbers drive your strategy is a recipe for disaster. Stay focused on your customer and your products/services. The numbers will follow if you’re positioning yourself correctly in the market and driving great operational results.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He’s the author of three leadership books: “One Piece of Paper,” “Lead Inside the Box” and “The Elegant Pitch.”