Brand Ambassadors are those leaders and employees who have an intimate knowledge of their organisation’s purpose, products and services and fulfill their role in the organisation with ownership, passion and pride.
Brand Ambassadors are active participants, smarter decision-makers and live the behaviours organisations require for sustainable growth (“our culture”).
Brand Ambassadorship starts with the leaders. It is Leaders’ collective role to a) model the behaviours, values and disciplines expected of everyone and b) to embed accountability by coaching, caring and growing their people.
A culture of Brand Ambassadorship is one of trust and ownership. For any business, this directly translates into improved performance, competitiveness, market share and ultimately shareholder return.
Culture and Values are all about Behaviours – “the way we do things around here”. Our visible actions, decisions and behaviours (the tip of the iceberg) are driven by our hidden needs – our values, beliefs, emotions and characters (under the waterline).
Any type of organisational change requires behaviour change – and shaping behaviour change is the most difficult undertaking all leaders face.
Cultural growth and transformation will only happen if leadership understand what is driving their peoples’ needs, so that they understand how to connect and influence their people to change their behaviours. One of the most powerful means to influence behaviour change is through leading by values. If a person’s deepest needs and values are mirrored and can be fulfilled in the organisation they work in, this provides the deepest source of motivation.
The Five Essentials of Purposeful Leadership require leaders to:
- Set direction and purpose as the path for all to follow by connecting individual and team efforts to support the greater purpose of the organisation.
- Lead by example by role-modelling both the organisation’s values and what is required from followers i.e. being the custodian of the organisation’s culture and modelling the organisation’s leadership ethos, values and behaviours. This is the basis for leadership integrity.
- Inspire your team members in a manner that motivates them to follow you by connecting with and coaching them at a deeper, emotional level. This starts with understanding their needs, aspirations and fears which are the basis for building relationships of trust and respect.
- Communicate consistently and constantly through various platforms so that team members always understand the business’s direction and purpose, and their role in it. As catalysts for change and performance, leaders need to coach team members against personal goals and behaviour gaps while displaying visibly-felt leadership to drive the message home.
- Lead all the time by recognising that leadership is an attitude, not a position and it is leading consistently that really matters. Leaders must not be bound by constraints such as working hours and departmental silos – they must be aware of and understand how they are received by others all the time.
This principle lies at the centre of shaping a culture of Brand Ambassadorship. Most executive leaders focus on driving strategy to fulfil market and investor expectations – a results-driven approach. While this may deliver in the short term, it is not sustainable. Sustainable growth is best achieved by facilitating strategy through a values-driven culture that is inspired by leadership.
A Leadership Brand is an agreed leadership style that models the behaviours required to deliver on the promise of the organisational brand. As this Leadership Brand permeates through the organisation, long-term sustainability improves.
The effort to drive a leadership brand requires deep behavioural change. It must be deliberate, it must be from the top and it must be modelled to all levels of the organisation. Companies who actively lead through a Leadership Brand realise the following benefits:
- Improved talent management: focused succession planning and performance development.
- Right results the right way: a more effective means to hold leadership accountable by measuring and aligning their behaviours to performance and results.
- Effective & flexible leadership: developing leaders who can move with changing times and markets.
- Improved investor confidence: because of the confidence in leadership to deliver results again and again.
- Improved customer relationships: Consistent leadership creates consistent value whether it is better service, higher quality, lower prices or greater levels of innovation.
- Improved employee alignment: Employees know what is expected of them, in terms of both how they work, and what they must deliver at work.