Angela Ahrendts, CEO of Burberry, and a woman who I admire greatly, posted this Harvard Business Review column on her twitter titled, “Discovering Your Authentic Leadership.” Read here, http://hbr.org/2007/02/discovering-your-authentic-leadership/ar/1). I enjoyed it, but I wanted to dig deeper into leadership and what truly makes a great leader. There were quite a few people who simply retweeted. My question for all of you is this: Should we always take what others write as truth, or should we test it and see what happens?
Angela, I hope you like my thoughts below – but if you don’t, I’d love to hear from you either way!
President, MODA Image Consulting
Leadership: Does it just happen? We see articles, storylines and books all about leadership and how to create a leader. We are creating leaders based on what Absolute Truths? How do we define a good leader from a bad one? Is it based on profits, corporate growth or a commanding personality? Have we come to a place where we think Leadership is all about the NOW? We must understand that the basis for all leadership is the TRUTH one lives by that determines who we are and why we are here. In reality, life doesn’t just happen and neither does leadership. Without a real purpose and ultimate goal, our leaders will not be leaders, but only cheerleaders. Understanding HOW we got here is most important to the development of Leaders that will make a lasting difference in the world.
It all begins with a very simple understanding ofâ€¦How did we get here and how did we get to where we are in life? The goal of life and or business is to reach the highest level of Personal and or Professional Achievement as possible. To reach one’s utmost potential by turning opportunity and preparation into success. How you believe we reach that goal all begins with the question; “How?”
If you believe that life just happens, that we all started out some millions upon millions of years ago as primal ooze and germs and that time plus chance equals the creation of life – then life really has no purpose other than one’s own comforts and self-absorbed love. Your failure or ability to rise to the top of the ladder, or in our case, the top of the food chain was not because of effort. Your happiness or disappointments are the results of blind faith, destiny, chance and luck. You were born at the right time, into the right family in the right neighborhood under the right conditions with no plan whatsoever. Somehow, everything just happened.
The same would be true of your image, it just happens as a result of some special selection by the stars. Or your career, it too just happened because you had more luck in making the right connections. If you believe as I believe, then you understand that you did not crawl out of the mud of chance but rather you were created. Your placement on this earth was planned, it was not a coincidence. If your foundation for life is that Life has a Purpose and the reason you are here is for something greater than yourself, you understand that work and dedication play a role in reaching one’s utmost good. For me, this is to relate to God, serve others, and turn all of your efforts into a statement that says something about your existence.
CEO’s and great athletes, or amazing mothers and fathers don’t JUST HAPPEN. Legacies are not the result of a spin of the wheel or a roll of the dice. They are created by executing a plan and investing in the well-being of others. Leaders are developed, talents are improved and your image becomes a reflection of a person with a vision for tomorrow. A VISION that can be shaped by the events of today, mixed in with the application of positive actions. The same is true for one’s brand in life. I call this one’s “Personal and Professional Brand.” If Life just happens, then you tend to give in to situations and you stop trying to shape them. Your Image reflects that because you either want to be just like everyone else, or you say Image is not important. People who understand the foundation of why they are here, have a Basic Foundation for true leadership and a worthy self-image. They grasp that one reaps what one sows, and your image is the water that attracts the nutrients necessary for growth.
Companies that die are companies that fail to understand their purpose and their brand. Business does not just happen and lasting success is not a matter of making a great product or having a great idea for the moment. Companies that grasp they are creating a legacy that goes beyond the product and service they provide are the companies of innovation with a Brand that lasts. The people that work for them understand that the life of a company is found in a belief its brand.
These companies that succeed for the long-term understand the necessity for each employee to properly communicate their BRAND to the rest of the world. The employees of companies that have a clear and communicated Brand that extends beyond the products and profits they make are employees that go the extra mile. They provide and make a quality product, but they also feel good about their efforts and better about themselves. They understand that THEY as human beings did not just happen, but rather they were created for a higher calling than just living.
Upon this basic foundation one can create leaders in homes, families, schools and business. What do you believe? What is the basis of your life and the foundation of the image and life you want to build? Take time to invest in yourself, create a PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL BRAND that says, “Yes I AM PART OF THIS WORLD, and I AM SPECIAL, CREATED FOR A GREATER PURPOSE THAN MYSELF.”
If MODA Image Consulting can help you define, distribute and deliver your Brand or your business’s Brand, please contact us. Success is waiting for those who grasp that Life can be ETERNAL and they can create a lasting legacy.
President MODA Image Consulting
Image | Brand | Fashion
Mila@modaimageconsulting.com | www.ModaImageConsulting.com
Direct: (615) 218.6831 | Office: (615) 567.6969