Category Archives: leadership

Leadership, influence and brand

I recently took a 5-day management course at Schulich School of Business. It was a very good course. I learned some things, validated expertise and I particularly enjoyed seeing profs who work in my field, marketing and strategy, teach.

The program consists of five parts: leadership, marketing, strategy, finance, HR. It is left to the participants to put this all together into a holistic thought pattern for themselves.\

In my view, this is essential.

For instance, marketing is not merely something other people do in your organization. ‘Marketing’ is what everyone who wishes to influence decisions – at any level – needs to do. The processes of getting consumers to buy product A vs product B are remarkably similar to what it means to leverage one’s hard won influence.

Indeed, in my view, influence is best defined as your personal brand equity expressed in the willingness of others to follow you. Frankly leadership is not about leading – it is about giving others reasons to follow.

Case in point: As an external consultant I never have the authority to change anything, I also have no way to reward my clients’ staff with more money. Yet, I lead and we make good things happen. My success is tied to how well I infuse projects with meaning, communicate appreciation, and generate desired outcomes. Naturally, with each successful project my brand equity grows and my capacity to do more good work increases. That’s why leadership (inspire) is such a powerful concept, as compared to management (perspire).