How Iconic Brands Are Leading the Pack During Transitions

What Your Company Needs To Be Doing to Blaze Its Own Trail

Iconic brands lead from the top down but they know that execution works from the inside out.

Major corporations are shifting leadership at a rapid rate. Take Nike for example, announcing a new CEO after Mark Parker catapulted stock and success over the last decade. But Parker’s not going anywhere, he’s been a long-time player in Nike and has come up the ranks in well-earned form and it shows.

The new CEO John Donahue who steps up in mid-January brings with him, the technology piece that will inevitably keep Nike leading the pack and springboard off the powerhouse leadership of Parker, IF leadership can navigate the transition just right.

Here are 7 keys you need to blaze a trail in the new year:

1. NEVER PUT YOUR HEAD IN THE SAND
Now more than ever you have to be reinventing yourself, pushing yourself, furthering your understanding and capabilities. It’s just not possible to stick your head in the sand and expect to stay on top. Always be paying attention to the market place.

“Change is inevitable with the pace of technology, transitions might need to happen fast and ideally they need to be as smooth as possible.” Renee Schlachter of Extensis

2. CREATE COMMON ALIGNMENT

Congruent clarity creates a culture of common alignment. Say that 3 times fast and instill that kind of confidence in your people practices and that’s how you transform a workplace. Culture comes from a leadership that is established through clear alignment to values. Once that’s in place, leadership better be setting a good example. Then train your people from the beginning with common and congruent language the exudes through your brand.

3. CONFUSE AND YOU LOSE

This is not just with your external marketing message, it also happens to be the biggest factor in the success of the internal operations and function of some of the most successful and iconic brands. Leaders lose if they don’t come from a place of congruency in their actions. Ever hear this: ‘Your actions speak so loudly I can hardly hear what you’re saying…’

The past year has shown some of the highest rates of leadership changes in the most iconic brands. With a new CEO, you’ll often see a big rebrand, especially if there is an ego. If you go in reinventing you better be clear from the top down.  If you don’t change mindset and culture to go along with that big rebrand you’ll shrink your lead from sheer confusion.

4. KEEP IT REAL in all levels of leadership

If you can’t relate to all levels of the organization while remaining steadfast to your core values you’ll lose your internal infrastructure. It may not happen overnight, but each part of the scaffolding of the organization will begin to implode.

5. BUILD from within

“If it makes sense – advance and train from within.” VP of XeniumHR, Alishia Young

Many companies have had exceptional success when they hire within, however, if you need to bring in fresh, outside eyes and the specialized skills to take your company to the next level, then that’s your best choice.

Nike’s shift of leadership comes from the clarity of taking their company to the next level using technology, as a result, they’ve made a congruent move bringing in that outside expert.

6. CONSTANTLY BE IMPROVING

Staying on top means ensuring your employees have the skills and support of expanding their skills internally. Constantly learning and improving yourself and making sure your managers and employees are doing the same is crucial. People are no longer hired for a certain skill, instead, they need to be multi-faceted and be able to implement or adapt. If you don’t have the skills consider training employees internally and find a balance going forward.

“Balance your birds-eye view and continue to push forward and evolve at a faster pace.  No department can turn a blind eye to what’s coming” VP of XeniumHR, Alishia Young

7. LISTEN to people

Which way technology needs to be deployed and at what speed is a big conversation you better be having. Listen with the intent to understand, to learn, to help. If you want to become a better listener, the best place to start is not talking.

After returning from a Comcast Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning conference recently, I’m more aware than ever that the game of listening has changed. NBC/Comcast is fast and furious on this. Their algorithms are set up to listen to every single customer – not just their words but every keystroke and swipe. The infrastructure in place with AI is making every person’s preferences available down to when they start to push back – with their money, their time and their attention.

There is no standard any longer. Not with the ability of AI to calculate and make algorithms that change on a word, inflection or swipe. This is huge. It changes the playing field for those brands that can afford to pivot quickly. But it’s still consumer-driven. AI can be used to track every move of the consumer and if you pay attention, you’ll recognize it as ancient wisdom and use it wisely.

Listening to what people are saying is still one of the biggest factors in any iconic brand.

Is there still room for small businesses and entrepreneurs in the world? You bet. People still make up the world.

People want to be heard. They want their voice to matter. Whether that’s your employee, your leaders or your customers.

And there are big answers in what people are saying. But you can’t be reactive to them.

You have to see the bigger picture and stay focused on your deliverables.

Hoard your stock, your inventory and you won’t be a viable organization. Whether those deliverables are apps, movies, a service, or people in seats or scrolling on their phones, it’s about high touch service and being a partner with your customers, employees and leaders.

Start implementing the above and watch your results. The metrics will tell you a story. Whether you are in the middle of the confused chaos of a big transition or a small rebrand, implement the advice above and you’ll see your brand take the lead.

Stephana Johnson is an entrepreneur and founder of Powerhouse Leaders, she writes, speaks and through her coaching programs helps entrepreneurs and execs get more results with less BS for themselves, their team and their bottom line. Visit www.powerhouseleaders.com or contact stephana@powerhouseleaders.com

The 3 Most Important Questions You Must Answer To Never Fail

How This Subtle Piece of Wisdom Can Change Your World

One of my darling’s of Literature is Leo Tolstoy and his story of  “The Three Questions” impacted me profoundly as a mother and as a business owner.

If you aren’t familiar with the story, it’s based on a king’s idea that he would never fail if he knew the answer to these three questions:

What is the right time for every action?
Who are the most necessary people?
What is the most important thing to do?

Just as many intelligent and capable business owners seek answers to questions like these every day, you will always get different answers.

Are you paying attention?

There will always be more information out there, there will always be more “answers”.

Until you fully understand the questions through application, you will be left seeking instead of succeeding.

As a business owner, you are naturally innovative. I am asking you to shift your thinking now, so you can finally understand the answers you seek – have always been there.

In fact, I’m quite certain you’ve held the answers all along, but they’ve been fragmented and you’ve been distracted from them.

We’ve been taught to always be reading – but why? Is more information going to be the answer?

We’ve been told we have to work harder – but why? Is more hustle going to be the answer?

I don’t believe you need more information – there’s no magic book, coach or program that if you just had it or did that or hired them – you’d have the answer.

So where do you break this cycle?

When you continue to seek you will always find someone who is willing to give you their answer.

Until you experience the answers for yourself you may never understand the meaning of your own purposeful gifts. As in Tolstoy’s story, so many men attempted to answer the king’s questions, but they all came up with different answers.

When the king decided to ask a wise hermit in a nearby village he had to disguise himself as a peasant, leaving his guards behind.

The hermit was tending his garden when the king arrived. The king asked his questions, but the old hermit went on digging. The king was inclined to offer to dig for him for a while and after digging for some time the king asked his questions again.

Just as the hermit might have answered, a man emerged from the dark woods bleeding profusely from a terrible stomach wound.

The king immediately tended his wound and took care of this man, staying the night in the hermit’s hut. The next day the man was greatly improved but incredulous as to what the king had done for him. The man confessed he had known who the king was and that the king had his brother executed and property seized, he, in fact, had come to kill the king! But the king’s guards had wounded him.

The man pledges his allegiance to the king and goes on his way.

Up until that point, the king had forgotten the questions. Once again the king asks the hermit and this time the hermit responds that he had just had his questions answered.

When we come to know the answers for ourselves it changes everything. As an entrepreneur, as a friend, as a parent, as a human being.

May you come to know the answers for yourself.

The most important time is now. As the present is really the only time over which we have power.

Whomever you are with is the most important person.

To do good to the person you are with is the most important thing to do.

Allow this idea to simmer and see how it evolves in your own life. You have enormous capacity and ability to affect the people in your world profoundly. If you aren’t realizing your own potential in the 3 core areas of your life, reach out for a chat. I just might be that optimizing hermit you’ve been seeking.

How To Start Waking Up To Your Creative Power

I love this quote by Anais Nin. And expanding from this, know that you can also create your states.

In fact, that is what we are each doing at any given moment. We just have been taught that we are not the ones creating our states from the inside out, thus have fallen into the trap of your world created from outside in thus again being the effect.

I assure you, with practice, you can assume any state you truly desire. It is a practice though. So if you have been practicing “being” the effect of external states, or you have been “practicing” with states you don’t wish, then it will be a bit of work to shift.  But it’s doable. The results are miraculous and easier than you can imagine right now.

In fact, there is a momentum in the universe where so many are waking up to their native ability as “creators” that shifts seem to happen faster than we can keep up. All the more reason to take back the controls of your own thoughts, your intentions, your emotions, and your states.

In June, my book Peace Doesn’t Come In a Pill will be released. In it, I describe the exact process I used to literally bring wake the dead…I’ll share more details soon.

Meanwhile, create a state of your wish fulfilled.

Is Your Creative Process in Need of Some Shears?

Pruning the Vine So You Can Feed the Best Version of You

Have you ever found yourself so busy doing lots of actions that just don’t seem to be giving the results you once hoped for? Whether in terms of inner fulfillment, a sense of accomplishment, joy and contribution, or monetary fulfillment? 

There is a beautiful quote by the prolific Ralph Waldo Emerson that brings to mind the necessary action when we are not finding our way to express our highest potential.

Here’s that epic quote from Emerson.

As the gardener, by severe pruning, forces the sap of the tree into one or two vigorous limbs, so should you stop off your miscellaneous activity and concentrate your force on one or a few points.

 Why is it necessary for you to do that?

Because as you remove the dead and even many of the living vines that seem to have inadvertently come in to choke out your creative energy, you have more power to focus on what is truly important to you! 

The springtime of our lives arrives and with it the potential for significant blossoming.  If you’ve pruned the vines then the new saplings can get the food they need to thrive. If not, they may get choked out and buried as they suck the food.

What better analogy than that of gardening to describe the creative process?  If you look at what you are giving your attention to, is it what you want to blossom?

 After all, isn’t your creative process really just like being the garden of your life?

What are you doing in your life? What are the daily actions that you do, even down to the mundane?  Are they pulling your energy, sucking the life force away from the important things you wish to have blossomed in your life?

Are you doing any random actions (I know I have)  that are a distraction to your true desires?

What are you doing that is not allowing you to concentrate your energy and love toward what you would deeply desire to create?

For me, I’ve desired 3 things, but I’ve spent my life to this point scattered with the many random seeds that blew my way, without a thought of how or what might fruit in my garden. And they have nearly choked out the most precious of my garden.

I assure you though, it’s never too late to get your creative energy back, after all, you are part of nature and so resilient. 

The act of pruning might feel daunting if you’ve let it get well overgrown, but I assure you it will be worth it. Severe pruning may seem essential, but it will allow for the creative energy that is you to flow to where it will truly be appreciated.

Once you’ve got it nicely pruned and it’s been nourished, take the time to appreciate, celebrate and enjoy what you have cultivated! But then get those shears out maintain that beautiful garden, knowing that it is, after all, a process

Ready for more creative power?

What do you think,  are you in need of some severe pruning?

If this resonates, share in the comments below and if you need more insight into the creative process of showing up as the best version of yourself, let’s chat.