The Branding Series: Developing [Brand] Character (Part 3 of 4)
Lesson #4 – Practice the highest level of responsibility–personal accountability.
The new owner of an office building hires two different cleaning companies to clean his building. His secretary is puzzled about the decision of hiring two companies, but doesn’t make a fuss. After a week of letting each company alternate on the nights they cleaned the office building, the owner decides he will award the cleaning contract to the winner of a final test. The next morning both cleaning company supervisors are asked back at the same time to visit the owner. Neither are aware of the test and nonchalantly greet each other as they sit and wait on the owner to arrive. After a short wait, the owner brings them into his office one at a time. After supervisor #1 is asked in, the owner proceeds to raise his voice about how someone from his cleaning crew left a faucet on during the cleaning shift flooding one of the floors of the building. The bewildered supervisor stands and pleads that he is only just a supervisor and didn’t know how this could have happened. The unrelenting owner demands to know who is responsible for the mistake. Supervisor #1 frantically responds, “Let me call my crew and see what happened”. The owner dismisses the supervisor to make the call. Meanwhile he invites supervisor #2 into his office proceeding to do the same thing. With the same emotion and fervor he demands, “who is responsible for this?” Supervisor #2 politely stands and says, “sir, if my crew was in the building then I’m responsible. I’ll personally see to that we fix the problem right now.”
Who do you think won the contract? The difference between responsibility and accountability is the personal ownership that is taken. Accepting blame is easier, when the responsibility is shared, but it is much more difficult to (excuse the term ladies) “man-up” and isolate yourself as the loan scapegoat. How does this relate to branding? It has everything to do with how people perceive your personal integrity. When you make a mistake, own it and move on. Public speaker, author and former NFL offensive lineman, Marques Ogden had a surprisingly refreshing perspective when I asked his opinion about getting more athletes financially educated. Players “must take more personal responsibility for their actions” and “realize the long-term effects of their decisions.” In talking with Marques, you cannot help but be infected by his deep sense of integrity and accountability. “When my business failed, I didn’t blame anyone but myself…those were my decisions, no one else’s.” How can athletes avoid potentially brand-destroying advice, especially that of the financial variety? Be informed. Do you research.
Lesson #5 – You’re not what you eat…you’re what you think.
I once heard that:
BELIEFS are how you view past experiences
DECISIONS are made based on those beliefs
RESULTS are based on the quality of those decisions
The theme underlying here is psychological in nature. Our belief system frames how we think about things. More damaging than someone bad-mouthing your brand is YOU bad-mouthing your brand. You might say, “I’d never bad-mouth my brand”. But what are you saying to yourself constantly? What negative “self-talk” are you using that becomes your script for the day? Many people unconsciously berate and tear themselves down and wonder why they achieve bad results or attract bad relationships. Successful athletes may learn to distance themselves from that type of thinking on the field to only be haunted by it off the field. This compartmentalization only works to devalue your brand also. Being a giant on the field of play means nothing, if you squander it away in a moment by a bad choice produced from a poor belief system. The only way to break this cycle is to start “mentally” ingesting the right things. A friend once told me that you can make a glass full of sand eventually be clear as water if you poor enough water into the glass of sand. This is how our minds work. Fill them with enough positivity, and the negativity will be pushed out. Sustaining your brand depends on whether you are able to replace the bad with the good, and the old with the new.