When a organization’s brand underperforms, so does the organization and its stakeholders. What might be responsible for an underperforming brand? Too much emphasis on identity than story. Too much emphasis on reach and frequency than authenticity and consistency. A story that plays it safe. A story that is hijacked as it moves farther from the leader who is the defacto author of the story. A story that isn’t based on a deeply rooted belief system.
How does an organization “be real”? Clarify and articulate why you exist in the first place. Besides making money, what is your purpose? What good are you trying to do in the world? Why does that matter? What’s in it for the rest of us? If you build story around the answers, the story has the power to attract allies to the cause. It’s a call to action that other people, who think like you, have been waiting for. A story rooted in universal truths aligns your plans with your actions. It gives your message consistency. Your ground truth is an under leveraged asset. Your competition can’t replicate it. You can use it as a business driver.
If you want to learn how to clarify and articulate your higher purpose in the form of a compelling story that attracts allies to the cause, coffee is on me.
In addition to longer form engagements with businesses and non profits, I work one-on-one with people who are in transition. The transition may be from one job to another, one phase of life to another, or a shift in their mindset about their purpose in life. In every transition the core issue is identity. Who am I without the job title? Who am I without the past to prop me up? How much energy have I expended building a structure to support an idea that is no longer useful? How do I answer the question: What’s next?
Interesting, to me, is that most of my one-on-one clients are women who have had their fill of society defining them since birth. A man’s daughter, the older sister, a man’s wife, a child’s mother, an aging parent’s caregiver, the supportive woman behind the successful man, and so on. These women were looking for clarity around what makes them unique, relevant, and powerful. They wanted a story that is pitched forward and free from the limitations and expectations of their past. To get there they knew they had do some deep soul searching to uncover their higher purpose–besides making a living–and get to the irreducible core of their existence. Not just what do I want, but why does it matter? Not just a list of skills, strengths and experiences, but explaining how they work in harmony to create a new and powerful force for good. And creating a personal narrative about what the world looks like when they succeed. If the story is compelling it will atract allies to the cause.
If you’re interested in your own journey of self discovery, leading to “aha” moments, and a story about the difference you’re making in the world, coffee is on me.
Interview by Peter Davis
Photograph by Theresa Keil
Describe your leadership style.
I’m interested in creating a transformational shift in how we interact with each other as people. I modeled that in my Governor’s campaign in a handful of ways. First, was to never be negative. People want to know what you stand for.
I believe in being revolutionary and future-oriented in my policy development, as a way to inspire people around a common vision of what we want to create together in this state.
Out of college I produced theater in southern New Mexico, mounting a new production every four to six weeks non-stop for 5 years. People rehearsed with me for three hours a night after working eight hours a day. Then they performed on the weekends, all for little or no money. Why would they do this? Working together in service of something greater than you is very satisfying.