Archives For innovation

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Slide1Last week I was at a conference with the key focus of understanding creativity – in its many forms.  I really wanted to better understand how I could steer clients toward “creativity” from a business perspective – in such a way that they will become not only the best leaders they can be, but the best individuals they can be overall. There was time built in to ponder our own potential and discover how to continuously re:create ourselves from an artistic perspective, but it was interesting to me – there was no mention of business leaders and how we, too, can leverage creativity in different ways to become exceptional.

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Innovation is the catalyst to growth. Innovation means doing something different, smarter or better that will make a positive difference.  Innovation applies to every aspect of your business – you can be innovative with products, services, methods or business processes.   Innovation is free and unlimited – if you actively tap into it as a leader.

Slide1Click graphic for more information

Incorporating innovation into your business can help you save time and money, and give you the competitive advantage to grow and adapt your business in the marketplace.  Because innovation refers to making things better, it can significantly increase the likelihood of your business succeeding. Research (and real life examples) have shown that businesses that innovate create more efficient work processes and have better motivation, productivity and performance overall.

The Innovation Inhibitor

December 12, 2013 — 1 Comment

This week, after challenging a client to take a different perspective on organizational change, I was reflecting on a commentary I heard from Gary Hamel on how Leadership has not fundamentally changed in over 100 years.  In short, he is absolutely right. We may move things around, make them look a little different, or phrase them in a different way – but there has been little actual innovation in leadership theory and practice in a very long time. Think about it. When was the last time you did something truly innovative for your business?


It occurs to me how critical it is that, we, as leaders, begin to think and act  differently. We have the capacity, as leaders, to see business from a completely different perspective, yet we are often hesitant to really leverage the inherent power that is within us to influence meaningful change.  The reality is that in order to move forward, we have to start – we must begin to take steps forward in the right direction. One absolutely essential way that we can move toward bringing innovation back to the forefront is to actively engage the sources that are available to us in order to facilitate new ideas and concepts coming to fruition. Continue Reading…

 This week, I would like to take the opportunity to ask for your help. I always love the lively discussions and insightful questions that emerge from the different leadership challenges we cover, but this week I would especially appreciate your insights and opinions.

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Communicating Brand YOU

March 10, 2012 — 3 Comments

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If you’re not appearing, you’re disappearing…

~ Art Blakey, Legendary Jazz Musician

 In order for you to increase your chances of success, people need to know about you and what you have to offer. They need to meet you, see you… hear from you. If you want people to talk about the remarkable things you do, then you need to give them the opportunity to experience you. This doesn’t need to be a sleazy car salesman pitch (no offense to any reputable car salesmen!), but it does mean you need to get out there and have the capability to produce  clearly choreographed 30, 60, and 90 second “elevator” speeches that will serve as an introduction to Brand YOU.

Once you know how you will introduce your brand, start attending networking meetings (both social and professional) and getting involved in external organizations in your field. However, one of the best (and least recognized) opportunities you have to communicate Brand YOU is to expand your involvement to organizations not in your industry or field of expertise. Some of your best contacts may come from quite unexpected places, but you will never know unless you get out there and share your brand.

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Defining BrandYOU

February 25, 2012 — Leave a comment

The word “branding” began simply as a way to tell one rancher’s cattle from another by means of hot iron stamp. The meaning has actually not changed too much at all – while not typically a physical marking, your “brand” identifies you and defines who you are as unique from anyone else…

By taking the time to develop a good brand, you will:

  • Deliver your message clearly
  • Confirm your credibility
  • Connect your audience to you emotionally
  • Motivate your audience to respond
  • Deliver long-term loyalty

A strong brand is invaluable as the marketplace continues to intensify. To succeed in branding yourself, you need to understand the needs and wants of those people you most want to influence – but more importantly, you need to understand yourself. The most important outcome of personal branding should be a clear, deep, and insightful understanding of who you are and what you stand for, just as much as what you want to be known for.

It is not enough to be known for what you do — you must be known for what you do differently, or better, than anyone else. You want people to perceive that you are the ONLY solution…

There are three critical areas you should focus on when creating “BrandYou”:

(1) Developing your brand

(2) Packaging your brand

(3) Communicating your brand

This week we will focus on developing Brand YOU, with subsequent weeks examining what it means to  package and communicate your brand.

The development stage of your brand-building strategy is the most important. This is where you determine who you are and what you stand for. As the CMO of Brand You, you need to ensure that you have the passion, persistence, experience and background to expertly show the world who you are. However, you also need a solid foundation and a strong framework that illustrates your overall identity.

The foundation of every reputable brand is authenticity, consistency, and clarity. These foundational pieces will guide you as you develop your brand. By embarking on a journey of self-discovery throughout this process and working hard to define who you are and what you stand for, your brand will become both authentic and clear – consistency will come from  repeated use of the brand and always presenting yourself in the same light. Brand You will become clear to others because it is the authentic you and will clearly demonstrate who you are. Every good marketer knows that a clear message is a message people can trust.

In order to gain clarity and authenticity, you need to leverage your background and experience to shape a perception that targets your specific audience. If your brand is not built on a solid foundation with a strong framework, no one will understand the value that you bring.

To expand on last week and help you along on your journey of self-discovery, ask yourself some important questions:

  • What are your values?
  • What do you love?
  • What are you insanely great at doing?
  • What are you most proud of?
  • What do you most want to be?
  • What is important and valuable to you?
  • What do you most want to be known for?

These may seem like basic, fundamental questions, but often these are the most difficult to answer. However, it is critical to your brand that you do answer them honestly and in depth.

As you formulate your brand, realize that it will serve as the basis for everything that connects people to you – logically and emotionally. Your image is important, but an image is just a reflection of your brand and your core values.

Brand management should aim to build into the minds of your target audience a set of perceptions and attitudes relating to what you want people to perceive, leading to your desired outcomes. To achieve this goal, you must know a great deal about those you wish to influence. It’s important to spend time investing in researching, defining, and building your brand with the end in mind. After all, your brand is the source of a promise to your consumer. It is the foundational piece to your marketing communications – and one you do not want to neglect.

Once you are explicitly clear on what your brand is and how it should look, it is your job to ensure your brand resides within the hearts and minds of those you most want to influence. It must become the sum total of their experience and perception of you, molding their thoughts and feelings to determine that YOU have what they are looking for. The power of your brand can only be measured by its effect on those you seek to influence. Your brand should be strong enough to convey a message and a feeling in an instant. And thats where packaging and communication come into play…

How Will You Define Brand YOU?

Please engage the discussion and let us know how you will develop your brand. Always feel free to contact me or by visiting our website at Check back next week for the next installment of Leadership Across Boundaries and Borders.