Creating a Culture of Heroes
By Kevin D. Brown
Creating a culture that drives organizational excellence and customer loyalty is not only essential, it is heroic.
More than ever, leaders must focus on and find ways to harness the power of culture by creating a positive, innovative and pliable environment where teammates can become the best version of themselves and contribute at a high level.
In a world confounded, conflicted and confused by a mountain of change, the one superpower that helps leaders transform the present moment is the power of choice.
Heroic leaders do not waste time managing change like so may organizations do. Real leaders understand that in a world filled with chaos and challenges, there is an enormous opportunity to leverage change. Real leaders use this moment in time as a platform to grow stronger, adapt, and find new ways to serve the team and customers in bigger and better ways. After all, in the midst of crisis and change, the goals to serve don’t change, but sometimes the path does.
Right now, in every industry and in every community, people are waiting and hoping for heroes to emerge – to show up and solve problems and make life better. That’s what heroes do. They show up and bring calm in the midst of the storm. They deliver hope and optimism to those around them. They encourage others with kindness and respect. And they know that crisis never makes heroes, it simply reveals them.
Everything you do matters. How you show up speaks volumes about what people can expect from you and your team. Heroes look like heroes, they sound like heroes, and they act like heroes. The following excerpt from our latest book, “Unleashing Your Hero: Rise Above Any Challenge, Expand Your Impact and Be the Hero the World Needs” sums it up perfectly.
My friend and branding expert Jeffrey Buntin, Jr. helps big business brands tell their stories well. His philosophy and approach to branding is this: “Everything speaks.”
When I asked Jeffrey to give me the core of the “everything speaks” philosophy, he said, “‘Everything speaks’ is about establishing a code with yourself for how you live. It is about synchronizing your values, behaviors and communication with others. It’s about putting the authentic you at the center of the life experiences you were meant to have. ‘Everything speaks’ applies to your personal life, relationships and to your work.”
I agree. Everything and everyone’s actions send a message. From the entry-level person at the reception desk to the veteran vice president in her corner office, everyone on your team is a part of your brand’s story – good, bad or otherwise.
Being the brand you represent personally, you need to be aware that your gestures, words, body language and tone all communicate to the people around you exactly who you are and what you bring to their table.
I believe that “everything speaks” is a vitally important concept. Someone is watching all the time. Not only are they watching, they are locked and loaded, ready to record on a moment’s notice and then blitz social media with your magic or misfortune. I am fascinated when I hear people make excuses for how they act. They will usually recuse themselves from the hot seat by proclaiming something along the lines of, “That’s just the way I am.”
Let me make this crystal clear: The way you are is the way you choose to be. It’s absolutely your decision to act the way you do. You may have some genetic predisposition or a life of conditioning that influences your behavior. But make no mistake about it, you are who you are and do what you do because you make the choices that determine your actions.
If you hear friends and family making excuses for you, take the hint. You need to make changes if they have to step in and explain your behavior to others like this:
• She didn’t mean to say that.
• He was just venting.
• Her bark is worse than her bite.
• He’s been through a lot lately, so cut him some slack.
If people are constantly rising to your defense, you may be offensive. I’ve known a few folks who say mean and nasty things about others and then claim, “I was only being honest.” Yeah, that doesn’t cut it either. The term comes from the root word “honor,” which when used as a verb is a synonym for “respect.”
That is a good way to treat people. When you treat others with respect, they respond to you in the same way. And if they don’t, so what? Be the one who chooses to shine regardless of what someone else does. It’s much better for you to rise above. Your example may just plant a seed that begins to grow in someone’s life – a seed that gives them hope.
I absolutely believe that we can influence people, yet we may never know the difference we made for them. To treat others honorably and with respect is heroic. It reflects well on them and on you. There’s a line from the movie “Batman Begins” that sums it up perfectly: “It’s not who you are underneath. It’s what you do that defines you.”
Indeed, everything you do speaks volumes about you, your brand and your commitment to solving problems and making life better for the people you serve and serve with.