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Fighting for change
Brian Richards
‘So often in meetings particularly, you notice the people who are physically present but not mentally.’
Brand Strategy
Spiritual Intelligence — That Special Ingredient of the People Behind the Brand.

There is one hell of a difference between a person who is running a company and someone who believes in a company. If the leader is strong in his or her belief and deeply involved it clearly rubs off on everyone else. I see more examples of managers being headhunted to manage with skills but not a deep belief in what they are doing. Invariably they fail within 3 to 4 years. I've always looked out for and been impressed by those giving leaders and managers. They are always the happiest to work and contribute with.


So often in meetings particularly, you notice the people who are physically present but not mentally. People around them notice this and it spreads rapidly. How is the company to have faith if its leaders have none? The brand is what brings together and articulates company values, both internally and externally, which is why one of the most important tasks of the manager is to ensure that everyone delivers the brand, it’s no longer just a marketing function.


We have finally arrived at a point where managers do not operate via directives and policies, which makes little sense to highly educated employees. They can only be directed via articulations of the brand values and the brand direction. Today's great manager needs to be at the cutting edge of the marketplace if he or she has any hope of understanding what is going on. They need to be able to articulate their brand to guide the company forward. The only way of handling the accelerating flow of information is by sticking to a firm set of values.


I have always thought that the brand provides the glue in flat structures these days when many employees would go weeks or months without talking to their immediate superior, who may well live on the other side of the globe even. Companies need strong personalities to succeed in these new economies and the same thing goes for the managers within these companies. Charisma embodied in a brand and one’s personal belief in it is unbeatable.


People talk about IQ and EQ but there is a third dimension of SQ. Spiritual intelligence (SQ) — it’s such a rare yet valuable ingredient. This is not some crazy raver, but rather a person with a deep understanding of who the company is, how it is related to the market, its competitors and how it fits into a large and chaotic globalised world. If you can explain this to others by way of product or service differentiation then you are incredibly valuable to a company.


Notice how many employees in your morning work in progress meeting seem preoccupied and lost waiting for direction. These half in half out people could cost you a 50% loss in productivity that same day, not to mention the immeasurable negative effect they may have on others. So building spiritual intelligence is a personal thing and when you see this ingredient in your company team it will be from the person who pops up daily with a better way of doing something, a nicer way of talking with customers, or just someone who cares and does the dishes at close of play in the canteen.


It doesn't matter how humble the gesture is it's a direct measure of your people's contribution to the brand, their passion and its value. I loathe the corporate religion often associated with American companies. Jingles in foyers and high five stuff with gee whizz type management styles where everything is great. It's hard in such environments for people to accept constructive critique since everything even the average performance is thought to be great.


Spiritual intelligence is that special ingredient of commitment and understanding usually embodied in brand words but it has to be lived. When you see it in spades around you and your part of it you’ll sleep like a baby in the knowledge your business is in good heart.

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Fighting for change
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Change is messy, it gets in the way of the status quo. It makes people unhappy as they fear what they’ll lose without seeing what they might gain...
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