In today’s corporate landscape, the CEO is responsible for many things. They carry the weight of yesterday’s failures and tomorrow’s risks. They determine the work that needs to be done and model the right way to do it. They develop strategies for growth and build roadmaps for the future.
Before they get to work, every CEO must decide whether to lead the brand or let the brand lead them. To determine the answer, the CEO must self examine:
Are my employees following me or following a unified idea?
Is everyone working toward my last directive or a clearly stated core purpose?
Is our competitive advantage me or the coordinated output of my team?
Is my day full of micro-managing competencies or macro-managing the future?
Does our culture reflect my personality or the collective DNA?
Is the company about me or am I about the company?
Is the vision what’s in my head or what’s on paper?
One of the CEO’s greatest challenges is to articulate and communicate their company’s brand strategy — who they are, what relevant position they own and how to express that to the market every day.
But one of the CEO’s greatest opportunities is to then live out this strategy every day and marshal both employees and the marketplace to embrace and champion the promise of a well-designed brand.
When a CEO fails to do this, the brand follows the CEO. If this is the case, the brand will fail when the CEO runs out of ideas, falter when the CEO missteps and dissolve when the CEO steps down.
But the CEO that defines and then follows a lasting brand will be the CEO that leaves a company as sound as the strategy he built.