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.
TowerStone’s model of authentic leadership is based on five core components that all leaders must exhibit:
- A leader sets direction and purpose. This sets the purpose and vision for all to follow.
- A leader leads by example – using personal and organisational values as the yardstick. This is the basis for leadership integrity and building relationships of trust and respect.
- A leader inspires followers. A leader must encourage followers to get things done. This starts with a deep understanding of their people’s needs, aspirations and fears. There is balance and a mutually beneficial relationship between leaders and followers.
- Leaders communicate – consistently and constantly. Leaders are agents of change. They require followers to implement this change and thus need to have outstanding communication skills.
- Leaders lead all the time. Leadership is situational and is a state of mind and being. A leader may be successful in some circumstances but not in others. Leaders are not bound by constraints such as working hours, departmental silos. Instead of saying “It can’t be done”, true leaders say “Why can’t it be done?”
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.