Developing a Learning Culture

The L&D Trinity: How the CEO, CLO, and CMO Drive Strategic Vision

When you take a look inside an organization, it’s easy to see which team members work together: The CMO is an obvious fit for the sales team, and the CLO is probably buddy-buddy with HR. But while some work relationships come pretty naturally based on roles and responsibilities, the most important connections might not be as immediately apparent.

By connecting the chief executive officer to the chief learning officer and the chief marketing officer, management can more easily capture, define, and promote strategic development throughout the entire organization. Consider them the holy trinity of training: Together, the CEO, CLO, and CMO make a divine team.

Setting Strategic Goals

At first glance, one might mistakenly believe that the CEO alone is responsible for defining and executing strategic goals throughout an organization. After all, the CEO is the one with the overall vision for the company. By while the CEO may have the vision in mind, that doesn’t make him all-seeing: The CEO requires insight from the CMO and CLO to help direct and assess goals.

The best organizations know their company strategy like it’s gospel truth: What are the goals for this quarter? What are the three most important factors for excellence? But it’s nearly impossible to get the entire organization on board with only one executive heading the initiative.


The CMO plays a part in helping the CEO understand current numbers and projections as method to understanding areas of weakness. What’s more, a good CMO acts as an advocate for the customer in creating a satisfactory experience from start to finish.


It’s the CLO, however, that strategizes on how to get all team members educated and on onboard with a new strategy. The CLO works to help employees see the overall vision so they aren’t kept in the dark, utilizing clear communication on the benefits of the strategy while executing L&D methods to train and educate.

All Three Working Together

Together, the three create a formidable partnership that first defines goals, then creates a strategy for accomplishment, and eventually, an avenue for success throughout the organization.

When the CEO, the CLO, and the CMO enter the same room, it’s not a question of who is answering to whom. Rather, it’s an equal partnership where each brings their specific talents and insight to the table for the greater good of the organization.

Seeing three of the top executives of the organization gather and work together can be downright inspiring to the rest of the organization: Proving that all departments should be working together as one seamless machine. While the CLO works on executing the CEO’s vision, the CMO can contribute to offer a strong, branded experience for employees that matches the overall organizational tone.

Ensuring that the CEO, CLO, and CMO are working together is a way to pool resources and put departments on the same page. Strong leadership isn’t about who gets to take the lead, but how to align resources and motivate the organization for near-celestial results.