Today’s leaders face new demands from society due to the speed of technological, social and economic change. Do these new challenges demand a new kind of leadership?
In a world of disruptive, networked, fluid, collaborative and shared business models, organizations are pushing the C-Suite to position itself on social and environmental issues, besides the traditional demands of delivering results and creating sustained value.
New leadership models are needed to help effectively navigate greater ambiguity, manage rapid change, and engage with all stakeholders.
There are companies - such as Apple, Virgin, Facebook - that have strong leaders who are able to lead their organizations... or others. These companies go further by building certain more general leadership skills. Specifically, they build what is known as a leadership brand.
The leadership brand is often linked to the reputation of the top management in meeting stakeholder expectations. Intuitively, people recognize the attributes that a company with these characteristics will bring to life in their brand experience. Interestingly, these actions are also aligned to a recognizable purpose.
A leadership brand drives long-term success. Leaders come and go while leadership is the process that takes care of the good of the company.
The Five Principles of Leadership Brands
Building a strong leadership brand requires that companies follow five principles.
They have to accomplish the basics of leadership well
Top Management must cover stakeholders’ highest expectations
Leaders’ evaluation must be defined under external perspectives
Meeting stakeholder expectations requires to hone leadership skills
The company should track its success at building a leadership brand over the long term
Management vs. Leadership
Management means doing something and being accountable for the result. Leadership is about influencing, guiding, innovating, and following a unique path.
For brands to be at their best in the marketplace, stewardship, integrity, sincerity, and trust must permeate the entire organization. These are qualities that brand leadership builds into the culture of the organization.
This can only happen with leaders who inspire shared values, and align and engage the organization that is synthesized in its brand.
The Three Major Gaps to Fill
1. Transparency. This is one of the most valuable characteristics of the organization. When it is recognized, it generates trust and respect in a world where many question the true intentions of organizations.
2. Internal collaboration. Today’s organizations can benefit when C-Suite leaders shift their focus beyond their own responsibilities and work collaboratively with each other.
3. Performance management. Measuring the success of individuals remains a powerful way to shape behavior. The most important criteria used to measure the success of leaders are driving strategy, generating economic and financial results, creating positive social and environmental impact, and a good governance system.
Brand leadership helps reinforce behaviors that create a culture in which leaders are encouraged to embrace change and recognize opportunities to innovate and pursue excellence.
If organizations want 21st century-ready brand leadership, they must first examine their values structure and principles to create an environment that facilitates the success of their leaders.
Brand leadership today is about working extraordinarily well with and through others. How we connect with others remains paramount, especially in the interfaces between the organization and its external audiences. Every relationship we establish contributes positively or detracts.
By Cristián Saracco
Founding Partner Allegro 234 | CMO zenziya | President aebrand | Member Medinge Group