Much of my work is to help brands reflect: to reflect on who they are, what they do, and how they do it. The starting point is for them to ‘know themselves’. I do this through a workshop called Finding your Brand Essence and the output is a Six-Word-Story – six words that contain the seed for everything they do. Once this essence is clear all strategic work, communication actions, marketing initiatives, and advertising attempts are aligned. ‘Knowing thyself’ is the start for knowing everything else.
Next Generational Thinking
Contingency plans are an important part of every leadership program and are key to a successful corporate culture. Yet all too often there is a growing gap between senior management and young professionals. ‘The New-blood’ seem too eager to throw away not only what has worked before, but what is also an important part of who we are. While ‘the Old-guard’ seem too slow and put too much emphases upon standard operating procedure. A very old story being retold in many corporations.
To overcome this gap, I have worked with organizations to create mentorship programs that connects senior management with young professionals. Senior experience is added to the dynamics of the young professional. There is only one rule, senior management can coach the young professionals on all aspects of business except operations. Operations in this case are the domain of the young professionals and are allowed to be done in a different way than they have in the past. Here the goal is of the senior management to keep alive the essence of the corporate culture and the goal of the young professionals to challenge everything that has been unnecessarily acquired along the way.
It should be noted that there is a danger in past success, successful organizations face a real danger of becoming complacent and can spend too much time looking backward rather than looking forward. This can again be overcome by focusing on creating a living corporate culture, a culture where emphasis is placed on innovation rather than imitation.
Roots & Branches
The sweet spot lies in finding the balance between consistency and change. Who you are always remains constant and how you manifest, this can always change. This is the balance between stability and development: keeping our roots alive while developing new branches. For every outward development there needs to be a similar inward strengthening.
Knowing ourselves therefore is not a once-off event but rather an ongoing process: a process of repeatedly recalibrating and re-centering to create a living culture. It is a process of empowering the next generation to carry forward the essence in a new way, in their way. So if there was one thing you would carve above the entrance to your organization, what would it be?