When leadership capabilities reflect the expectations of customers and investors, those stakeholders gain confidence in your firm. By developing a leadership brand using an outside-in approach—asking what your customers and investors want from the business and what your leaders can do to deliver it—you position your organization to grow in both customer share and market value.
Great leadership is so much more than a generic list of attributes.
While all exceptional leaders share common traits, a unique leadership brand, based on stakeholder expectations, enables competitive differentiation. Companies looking to define or strengthen their leadership brand often struggle with the following issues:
- Our current leadership development isn't connected to business results.
- We're missing an integrated, strategic plan for growing leaders.
- We don't have the leadership bench we need.
- We struggle to articulate why leadership development matters in a way that resonates with our customers, investors, and even our own leaders.
- We have different versions of what we want leaders to do in different regions or businesses.
Start with how leadership affects stakeholders.
Many times, leadership work is initiated to address gaps about current leadership based on the internal definition of “a good leader.” But this misses a critical perspective. To create truly differentiated leadership capability within the organization—and not just strong individual leaders—transformation and alignment work must start with what investors and customers expect from the organization and its leaders. By first establishing strong connections between leadership and organizational goals, companies can more successfully create differentiated leadership capability that sets them apart in the minds of their stakeholders.
RBL uses the six elements of the RBL Leadership Brand® Architecture to direct all leadership transformation work:
1. Build a business case for leadership
The business case shows how leadership investments contribute to organization goals. It also ensures that investments in leadership deliver the right results.
2. Agree on what leaders must do
Consensus and clarity about what leaders must do is the foundation for all activities to build leadership brand. A good leadership profile covers the basics as well as what is different about leadership at your organization.
3. Assess leaders and leadership
Assessing leaders provides important information on existing strengths and gaps at an enterprise level. This information informs and focuses leadership improvement initiatives. Assessing leadership involves identifying gaps in the organization’s capability to build leaders.
4. Invest in leaders and leadership
Developing leaders requires investments in both individual leaders and in leadership systems and processes that can build a reliable pipeline of leadership talent.
5. Measure leaders and leadership
Measuring progress, monitoring results, and feeding that information back to shape ongoing efforts is critical to success. Measures should clearly tie back to the results identified in the business case.
6. Ensure reputation
Ensuring reputation involves two critical activities: sharing the results of investments with relevant stakeholder groups and monitoring and building reputation.
Stand out against competitors and increase value for all stakeholders.
The final step in our leadership transformation model is just as important as the first. When you publicize the investment you’ve made in your leadership brand and the results you’ve achieved in the process, stakeholder confidence in future results gets a significant boost. You win with investors who believe your leaders have the capabilities to deliver on their promises. And you win with customers who trust your people to respond to their needs consistently and appropriately.