Consider this …
Nearly every company has the same strategy with the same five initiatives:
- Be profitable
- Sell stuff
- Create shareholder value
- Have productive employees
- Build a reputable brand
These five initiatives are manifested in various iterations of terminology, slogans, programs, systems etc. So if every company has the same five initiatives, why do some fail and others succeed? How can multiple companies in a similar industry have such a variance between winning and losing?
I’m convinced more than ever that it’s not tactics and execution that is the separator. Instead, the winning companies have three elements that the others don’t have – or worse, only pretend to have. Warning: all three are over-used words that quickly become cliches in the face of inconsistency, but don’t let that distract you from their importance.
- Leadership: winning brands have leaders at all levels who have high emotional intelligence and high character with a heart for people and are fearlessness about risk.
- Culture: winning brands have cultures made up of people with high standards, an optimistic, positive outlook on life (high self-worth) and an attraction/propensity for disruption.
- Clarity: in winning brands, everyone (including customers) knows WHY they are in business, WHAT makes the company different and HOW they fit in to the story.
“No duh” you might say … winning teams have always had these three elements. True! But now they are just now more amplified than ever due to the fishbowl effect of social business (human experience), the emphasis of workplace culture created by Millennials and over-all intense competition for dollars, hearts and minds.
Now take the same 5 initiatives and add the 3 elements of leadership, culture and clarity. Not only do these winning brands excel at all 5 initiatives, they also accomplish:
- Perpetual word-of-mouth – they own the social and off-line conversations
- Talent attraction – a line out the door of people who want to work for the company
- Continual relevance – regardless of time and trends, these companies remain relevant and dominant
It is no coincidence that leadership is the first trait. Every case study about a winning brand is actually a case study on leadership. Simply put, great brands have great leaders. Or better said, great leaders create great brands.