Thursday, April 20, 2006

Leadership brand and capital

Business Times p.B3
Thursday, April 20, 2006

CONSIDER leadership a brand and a capital. Like product or institutional brands, leadership means the differentiation that makes a leader excel, credible and easily recognizable. Like money and other resources, leadership produces excellent results and has multiplier effects. Leadership brand is a type of capital investment.

An organization could be said to be an excellent one due mainly to the excellence and depth of its leadership. An organization is the collective success stories of its leaders at all levels.

An example is the Lopez Group of Companies, a long-established family (some of the companies under the group have gone public) business by the brothers Eugenio Sr. and Fernando Lopez. The Lopez brand and capital dominate the Lopez Group of Companies. The sum total of the unique stories and leadership brands of Eugenio Lopez Sr., Fernando Lopez, Eugenio Lopez Jr., Oscar Lopez, Manolo Lopez, Gabby Lopez, Precy and Steve Psinakis and Jake Almeda Lopez are behind the story of the Lopez Group of Companies.

Today, when you think of Meralco, you think Manolo Lopez. ABS-CBN is Geny and Gabby Lopez. First Philippine Holdings Corp. is Oscar Lopez. This is spiced up by the stories of other leaders who come and go and leave their own “lovemarks” in the organization. The different Lopez companies singly and collectively have become “lovemarks” in Philippine business themselves.

The Lopez Group has experienced extreme ups and downs in the course of its business life. It has been toasted and vilified on various circumstances and times. It is the love affair of its leaders to its business that has sustained the Group through 50 years of existence. The story of the Lopezes reveals a “never say die” attitude and a deep concern for public service not only in the business they are in but also in the way they conduct business.

The issue with leadership brand and capital is how to track and measure it meaningfully to achieve projected results. All organizations have traditional financial measures, but practically no nonfinancial measures that enhance the value of the organization’s intangible assets such as human and leadership brand and capital.

Ergo, it becomes important that organizations establish a leadership capital management system responsible for tracking and analyzing information about its leaders and other human capital with potential to become leaders.

Some call this program Career Management and Succession Planning. Sadly, when the topic pops up in conversation with leaders (in business, government, the academe and others) and human resource professionals, the topic is soon changed to more nonthreatening and familiar topics. Leadership development and succession planning seems to be a new and forbidden territory for many companies here in the Philippines.

The first step to Succession Planning is for current leaders to accept their humanity and let go. Succession Planning requires initiative and blessings from the very top.

The second step would be to start tracking and measuring nontangible assets like human and leadership brand and capital.

The third step is to identify leadership competencies and talents—knowledge, skills, values and attitudes—that enhance the value of the organization. These competencies must be tied tightly with your organizational strategic and operational plans.

Fourth, mind your attracting, hiring, educating, training, developing, compensating, recognizing and firing people.

Last, create a culture of candor, celebrate mistakes, cultivate diversity and reward innovation.

ASTD 2006. The American Society for Training & Development International Conference & Exposition—May 7-10, Dallas, Texas—offers different experience levels: Essential Skills (for entry-level practitioners); Professional Development (for mid-level practitioners) and Senior Staff/Executive Programming (for experienced practitioners responsible for staff, new initiatives, planning, development and business processes. For details, contact or (0917) 899-6653.

Moje is president of Paradigms & Paradoxes Corp. Send your reactions to

No comments: