There are many publications describing how to make your organization better, improve employee morale, and increase returns on investments. Creating a leadership “brand” is the newest wave of recommendations to make one’s organization stand head and shoulders above others. The premise is that if your business has a well designed brand, a commitment to the brand, and leadership that will role-model the brand, your organization will excel.
In many ways, the idea of a leadership brand is not very different than other self-help objectives for businesses. However, there are some strong points made in Leadership Brand: Developing Customer-Focused Leaders to Drive Performance and Build Lasting Value that resonated. I will briefly review the parts of this book that describe their philosophy in addition to the statements I believe are the strongest.
The seven beliefs of authors Dave Ulrich and Norm Smallwood are as follows:
--We believe that leaders matter, but leadership matters more.
--We believe that every leader has a responsibility to create a leadership brand that translates customer expectations into employee behaviors and that outlasts the individual leader.
--We believe that branded leadership can be developed.
--We believe that individual leaders need to role-model the brand they advocate to others.
--We believe and have experienced leadership brands in all types of organizations.
--We believe that all organizations have a leadership brand.
--We believe that leadership brands can be changed.
“Branding Leadership” describes that leadership is not about an individual leader, but focuses on the quality of leaders throughout the organization. Leadership is described as a process, not a person. The idea is that engendering confidence to your stakeholders in the future of your business is more important than any individual set of leadership traits. The focus here is shifted outside the organization to define and reflect what the customer expects. Many companies focus their success on competencies, setting goals and executing strategy. What that management style overlooks is creativity, risk-taking and global insight. Leadership should focus on grooming the leaders of the future and encompassing all of these areas.