The essence of leadership is summed up in just several key points. Get involved and stay involved with your business and your employees. Be honest, approachable and transparent in all your dealings. Do what is right and lastly, protect your brand.
These points are all relatively self-explanatory except the last one, protect your brand. We all have a brand regardless of your job, classification or status in life. Let’s say for example you work for one of the airlines. You are known by your brand, meaning are you a hard worker, easy to be around and an honest employee? That is how you are known and therefore that is your brand. Take the person who is always arguing with his boss, in conflict with fellow employees and just a general unpleasant person to be around. He has his brand and it is not good.
A brand is what you are known for. We sell hotels and work with a lot of brands like Holiday Inn, Marriott, and Hilton etc. Each one of the brands stand for a different guest experience and a different standard of expectation. To change the brand perception is a very difficult thing to do and many times froth with failures. We had this local restaurant 15 years ago that had 3 or 4 locations and they were all these big log structures with a mid-market priced menu and very good food. Many times we would go there and wait in line to be seated. The owner really had a great business model and his average entrée was between $8 and $11 dollars. Fast forward 3 years and the owner decided that if he was doing so well in the mid-market segment, just think how much better he could do with higher priced items, fancier plates and a new menu.
You have already guessed how this story ends. We went in one day and there was no line and we thought, that’s odd, but went ahead and were seated. We looked at the new menu which was largely the same items but they were now $15-$17 dollars. Yep, his business died, the restaurants were closed and it was over, all because he didn’t know and respect his brand. He wanted to be something he wasn’t.
In summary it is critically important to know who you are and what you do well. In business it is even more important to know who you are and who you are not. Walmart is known for value, Volvo is known for safety and I could list 20 businesses with their own market perception.
In life and in business, be real, be approachable, and be honest with others and with yourself. Most importantly guard and protect the good things you are known for or in other words, protect your brand. KT