The Archetype in the next cubicle

Photo by nennajames
When I worked for Ralph Lauren, I marveled at his strength of vision. Line opening after line opening, he never wavered away from his commitment to style, American heritage, and product quality. A strong leader at the helm makes it much easier to establish a strong brand.

When Steve Jobs built Apple, he placed as much importance on product design and aesthetic as he did technological performance. Everyone working at his company knew they had to please Steve, before any new product would be introduced to a consumer. The man personified the brand.

Most companies don't have iconic leaders like Ralph and Steve. Yet many companies still have very distinctive talent brands. How does this happen?

Effective organizations are always unified by common goals and common values. The better defined they are, the easier it is for these companies to meet their mission. Although your CEO may lack mythological charisma, often there are natural leaders among the ranks that embody a company's spirit. The trick is to look for them.

One of the questions I like to ask during a talent brand audit is: "who do you work with that represents the best qualities of your company?" What you learn from their answers can help shed light on the aspirational nature of a company's culture. It also teaches you who needs to be placed high as an example to others.

The C-suite is not the only place to look for your company's talent brand archetypes. Many times they may be in a cubicle nearby.

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