This week, I was invited to present my Brandful Worfkorce model at a small private executive forum hosted at Hertz Headquarters in New Jersey and convened by The Institute for Corporate Productivity also known as i4cp. While I enjoy presenting at both small and large audiences, the benefit of a small, intimate audience is the chance to really interact and have a dialogue. What I’m noticing more and more, especially having recently moved from the corporate environment to my own independent venture, is that the divide is growing between corporate and non-corporate, particularly in the realm of social media. It is much more difficult for large corporations to keep up with new technologies and leverage them to their advantage while smaller organizations can move in and capture a unique niche. However, if employees within large corporations were treated as individual entrepreneurs, maybe that would not be the case. See my blog about LinkedIn’s program. Anyway, that was not the point of today’s blog, but it was on my mind.
What I wanted to talk about was whether or not I “cracked the code.” You may ask, “What code?” Answer: The code to corporate success. After having presented my roadmap on how to build a workforce that promotes the brand – see my blog on the Brandful Workforce Overview – the participant from Cisco came over the me and asked: “So you don’t have to be a Richard Brandson or Steve Jobs -or some godlike leader – to build a brandful workforce?” I said, “No, of course not.” And he replied: “Then Julia, you cracked the code!” If anyone can do it, then it opens the door to many other organizations. He wanted to know if a brandful workforce was something that could be created in a mature organization that had no history of involving the employees in the brand – or did it only apply to startups, where it had to be built from the beginning. I do absolutely believe it applies to any type of organization at any level of maturity. It just may take more time and effort.
The Cisco participant then introduced an example. He mentioned Saturn – the car company. From his point of view – he described Saturn as a company that started out with a cool car and everyone loved it. The employees were quite thrilled to promote it. Then, the car changed and in his view – became a bad product. (He phrased it differently.) The employees were no longer promoting it and he wondered if it was how leadership were treating the employees. According to the brandful workforce roadmap, employees cannot promote a product that is not stellar, no matter how they are treated by management. So much of the work that management does to foster positive relations with employees is not going to amount to anything if the product stinks.
The Brandful Workforce roadmap is quite simple. It’s usually the organizations that get lost in the weeds of their business – rather than focus on the three keys to a brandful workforce, which also happen to be keys to general success: a solid business model, customer promise and employee promise. Did I crack the code?