“An organization bound by love is far more powerful than one bound by fear.”
My years of experience crafting brand strategies for both large corporations and small firms have convinced me of one principle above all others: brands are built from the inside out. The best brand strategies in the world will not succeed if there is not a culture – driven from the top – of creativity, authenticity, and humanity. Great cultures perform miracles, for both shareholders and customers.
As proof in point, I offer Herb Kelleher, founder of Southwest Airlines, who is justifiably credited with fostering one of the most emotionally intelligent and resilient companies in the airline industry. Sifting through my files many years ago in my office at the McCombs School of Business, I found the text of Kelleher’s commencement address delivered to the school’s BBA graduates in 2004, entitled “Fourteen Ways to Be a Leader.”
I quickly realized I had discovered a golden treasure of brand wisdom, and to my astonishment, I couldn’t find it published anywhere online. I contacted Kelleher (retired as CEO of Southwest at that point) and asked if the school could publish the notes as a ten-year commemoration in 2014. He graciously gave permission, with one requested change to point number four, which he had reconsidered since delivering the address.
Kelleher passed away this week. I’m pleased to publish his remarks one more time, in memory of a brand genius and a truly remarkable entrepreneur and business builder. Continue reading “How Kelleher Built the Southwest Brand from the Inside Out” →
Your PR team needs to get confident about ethics, particularly the younger members who haven’t yet witnessed ethical crises in their career.
This finding may not be surprising on the face of it. A recent study of Millennial-age public relations practitioners found them to be earnest, eager, and…naive.
The study, funded by the Arthur W. Page Center at Penn State and sponsored by the PRSA Board of Ethics & Professional Standards was administered during September of 2016 to newer members of the Public Relations Society of America.
The majority of respondents said they felt ill-prepared to advise their clients or employers about ethical issues related to their work, and in fact, did not even expect to face ethical dilemmas during their careers.
Yes, this is a facepalm cue for us
older more experienced members of the communications world but should we be surprised? These talented, young pros learned the craft from us. Continue reading “Ethics goes missing in training of young PR professionals” →
Organizations thrive when they learn to ask HOW before WHAT.
When I first joined the leadership team at a top-tier business school, eager to apply my skills as a graduate of the MBA program and a brand consultant in the corporate world, I discovered that our strategic goal was to become the best public business school in the United States.
It was a laudatory aspiration to be sure. Who could argue with it? However, I soon realized the plan was heavy on things we would DO to gain that goal, but very light on HOW we would do it. In an academic environment, with its fiefdoms and diversified management perspectives, this encouraged a focus on the productivity and results of our individual programs and departments, rather than the broader school or the university. Continue reading “Leading in higher education with emotional intelligence” →