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What is Leadership?

August 4th, 2009

Working at a very recognizable high tech company for the last 10 years (and a smaller, yet equally recognizable one for the 5 years prior) has taught me a lot about what companies think about when they proclaim ‘Leadership’ in their space.  At Intel, on the back of our employee badges, we have our ‘Values’.   Those values revolve around Customer Orientation, Discipline, and Quality – to name a few.  One sub-bullet under the value of Quality stands out to me and it says “Do the right things right”.   I think that’s a great line and is applicable to so many aspects of the business.  I peek at our values from time to time – mostly when I am writing my self assessment around review periods or mapping a project justification document to the core tenants upon which our company was built.  Today I was compelled to review them again after reading a guest post on Fast Company by Paul Worthington.  He made a great observation about the power of the customer and the responsibility of brands to lead in their space.

He negates (well, at least cautions against) a popular and rampant belief that, with the power of Social Media and direct feedback, the customer is absolutely in charge and brands must simply accept that as fact.  I appreciated how he urged brands to take control of their own fate and do more.  Not just with their customers, but also in how they square off with their challengers.  He summarizes his observation of what makes brands leaders in their space in three lines:

  1. Innovate by leading your customer
  2. Create amazing experiences
  3. Get involved with the conversation

Three very simple tenants that every brand leader must heed.  #3, in my opinion, is probably the most important and could be the potential foundation for the other two to build off of.  It all starts with understanding what your customer is expecting from your brand.  By listening to, and incorporating their input into, your traditional product development cycle a brand will be better equipped to ‘create an amazing experience’ for current and future customers.  Some brands ‘get’ this far more intuitively than other brands.  At Intel, we are getting better with #3 and it makes me proud of the team that is helping move that discipline forward.

Hat tip to Paul Worthington for a well thought out post.

Branding, Intel, Social Media ,

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