Those of us of more advancing years will have seen a few initiatives come and go. Total Quality, Investors in People, Customer First, Lean, MBWA, Six Sigma, Management by Objectives, Living the Brand, Excellence to name a few.
It is easy to be cynical but all of these and more have been approached with a purpose in mind and the simple truth is that sometimes you need a ‘programme’ to get things moving in the right direction. My concern is not with having initiatives but I have great sympathy for the leaders or organisations who seem to carry the can for all of them.
I bet that in all the above some consultant (in some cases me!) has wisely stroked their chin and said “of course this demands leadership from the top”. I would have great sympathy for any CEO who suggests we go and find a programme that can be led from the bottom so they can have a breather!
Of course that is not feasible and the process of brand alignment also requires genuine leadership for it to be truly successful. However, we feel it is only fair to offer some practical guidance to help those leaders deliver. Our process is designed to involve leaders at the right time and in a structured way so they can maximise their input in an efficient but visible way.
One of the significant steps however is for the leadership team to put together a small, handpicked driving team of influential people to really steer the process to a conclusion. Naturally if the brand is to be aligned that team will have a combination of Ops, Marketing and HR, but job role is only part of it.
Each of those team members will bring a different element to the party. One will understand the brand inside out, including where the competition sits. One will know how to remove blockages at all levels of the business including the top. The other will really understand the company culture and how to best energise people on the ground. In our experience a senior team constructed in this way can move mountains and become role model leaders for others.
The CEO who puts this team in place to align the brand will be seen as a genius.