Thursday, April 6, 2006

Leaders brand your organization

Business Times p.B2
Thursday, April 6, 2006

AN organization is a story by itself. This story is the sum total of all what the people of that organization accomplish. The subplots are the unique experiences of every person in the organization. It is not about productivity levels, bottom line, turnover, sales records and the like. These are merely numerical measures of how well the organization stacks up against set standards. They are soon forgotten when new numbers come up; after a few years, you dispose of all these records lest they eat up precious space.

The individual and collective stories of people, though, leave an indelible mark in the company’s identity and potential. For example, one company started long before it was formally organized. It started as a dream of the owner, a future of what she personally wants her life to be. It is fueled by her desire to better her family’s circumstances and to acknowledge and use her own talents and capabilities.

She tested the water, so to speak, and started to do things informally. She does her business on her days off from work. She would do small jobs for her friends. She experimented, innovated on what the masters were doing, came up with fresh new ideas and persevered. Sometimes her only payment was a cup of coffee or a big thank you hug and a promise that when he (her friend) becomes successful then he will again engage her services and pay her appropriately. Just the same, she did her best and delighted her customers.

Then—with enough capital, energy, confidence and commendable successes with initial clients—she registered her business as single proprietorship. She came up with her strategic initiatives and action plans. She hired people to help her implement her dreams and plans; appropriated the family room as her office; bought the requisite office equipment and furniture and she was off to the big world of business.

She had many exhilarating experiences and an equal measure of frustrating and excruciating ones. Along the way, she fumbled and even tripped on her own feet, made incremental improvements and courageously took a few quantum leaps. She made big and small decisions based on her plans on most days; under certain circumstances, she improvised or simply used her intuition.

There were days when she needed to dip her business fingers into her family savings to meet payroll requirements. Some other days, she happily ran all the way to the bank. There were times when she had to hire extra hands to meet huge commitments. There were occasions when she had to let people go for one reason or another.

Although not a sales person, she kept trying and honed her marketing skills. One thing she never sacrificed was her values system. She would rather not do business with people who do not share her values. She was not all about money, she was out to satisfy the needs of her customers and build long-standing business, even friendly, relationships.

She valued her employees. She might not rate in the top 10 of highest paying employers, she spent time to rigorously train and develop her employees and gave them the opportunity to fail, succeed and excel.

Hers is one of the stories behind the company. But her story stands out and is critical to the continued success of the company. She is the leader. She provides the most important capital of her business—leadership. Her story reveals her brand of leadership, which becomes synonymous to her company’s brand and the way her employees and those outside her company (customers, suppliers, community and others) perceive her company.

What is leadership capital and leadership branding?

ASTD 2006: Aside from Jack Welch, other interesting speakers and topics at the American Society for Training & Development International Conference and Exposition are: Ken Blanchard on Leading at a Higher Level; Sharon Jordan-Evans, Improve Workplace Satisfaction; Mette Norgaard, Stories @ Work and R. Roosevelt Thomas, Taking Diversity to the Next Level. E-mail or call 0917-8996653 for details on how to attend the conference.

Moje is president of Paradigms & Paradoxes Corp. Please send your feedback to

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