October 28th, 2016
Author: David Reeve, Unleash Culture
One of the best illustrations of the concept of telling your story through character can be found at any funeral. The stories told at funerals are 100 per cent based on the person’s character, not their skills. We make the dearly departed the hero. Not just any hero, but our hero, and we talk about how their life greatly enhanced and positively affected ours. We get emotional. This is powerful, lasting and proper. Just the way you should tell the story of your brand.
You tell your brand’s story to the world, through character, for two reasons:
- To become an attractive brand to do business with, and
- To become an attractive brand to work for.
Have you ever been asked to describe what you do for a living and gotten that smile, that nod, that glazed-over look in the eyes, and a mumbled “that sounds interesting” response to your answer?
It might be because you do not truly understand how to articulate the character elements of your business enough to hook your audience.
Consider the difference in these two answers when someone asks me about my business.
Answer one: “I own a consulting brand and I help businesses by building culture in their brands through mentoring, workshops, speeches, facilitation etc. and I work with some of the biggest brands out there”.
Answer two: “I help brands discover greatness within and inspire everyone, everywhere”.
Of course, I use answer two, and people always follow up with, “How do you do that?” To which I say, “Let me tell you a story….”
Within every brand story, there are two parts.
- The skill side of the story, typically what you do and how you do it, and
- The character side of the story, which is the why you exist. This is the emotional side of your story.
Unfortunately, 90 per cent of people building their brand only focus on what they do and how they do it when telling their story. In other words, only the skill side of their story, leaving the character side out.
This is a mistake.
The story you tell becomes the story others tell. Remember that. What story do you want them to tell?
When others tell our story for us, we call them brand ambassadors. Think about the number of times you have met someone, and five minutes later you cannot remember what they do, let alone try to tell their story in a meaningful fashion. Unfortunately for them, you are their brand ambassador, but they have not given you an emotional hook to remember what will help you tell their story.
The real key to telling your story, and to getting people emotionally hooked so they tell your story to others, is to focus on the character side of your story. Culture is the foundation of your brand’s character, thus having a great culture is the key to telling your story.
Telling the character side of your story requires three ingredients, and a combination of these ingredients should always be present in every telling of your story.
Focus on Your Why
You must talk about why you exist, otherwise known as your purpose. Take my example from the second answer, above:
“I help brands discover greatness within.”
Discover greatness within is my brand’s why, my brand’s purpose. It is why I started my brand and is the foundation for the culture within my brand.
Mention a core value
You should always mention a core value in your story. Core values are the fabric of your character, acting as a lighthouse, and are one of the key foundations for building culture. One of my core values is “inspire everyone everywhere.” In my answer above, I include a core value to get people emotionally hooked.
You Need a Hero
You must always have a hero in your story. Someone that you shine the spotlight on in a great way.
Stories love heroes. Good vs. evil where good always triumphs, or the hero vs. a challenge and the hero always triumphs. We always want to root for the hero and we are emotionally drawn to the hero’s journey. In your stories, always feature a hero, either a great team member or an amazing client.
Finally, it is critical that the story you tell to the outside is a true measure of your culture on the inside. It is hard to go through life wearing a mask, outwardly displaying one thing while feeling another way altogether on the inside. It is emotionally draining and easy to spot as fraudulent by others.
The same applies to building culture. Your culture should never display an image outside that does not match what is happening on the inside. So how do we make sure the story we are telling the world aligns with who we are and what we are feeling on the inside?
It takes everyone doing their part. Everyone, and I mean everyone has a role to play. It simply cannot come down to a handful of people to make sure the story stays alive on the inside. It starts with developing an authentic purpose and core values and then living them every day. Then it is about engagement, contribution, and a belief that you are truly building something very special.
Soak all this wonderful energy in, let it fill your soul with happiness, realize that you can make a difference in any outcome and you will never, ever, have to worry about the inside and outside measuring up, it will just naturally occur.
By developing the character side of your brand, you are building an amazing culture within your brand and a brand within your culture.
Character is the foundation for generating an emotional attachment to your story. When others connect with your stories you gain their trust. This lasting connection builds brand loyalty, cultivates strong partnerships and lasting relationships, wins over referrals, and attracts engaged team members.
October 03rd, 2016
Update: From our Leadership Task Force, we have assembled a powerful leadership development program for Vancouver-based companies. Check it out!
Interested in being a part of an innovative Leadership Task Force? Read on!!
The task force was an idea that resulted from recent discussions with local CEO’s and other Senior Executives about key issues that keep surfacing time and again… The purpose of this Task Force is to address these issues head on! Here they are:
- There are currently scores of leadership programs out in the marketplace but are they relevant and meeting the needs of today’s leaders?
- Business has changed, but has how we lead kept up with the change?
On October 12th from 7 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. at UBC Robson Square we’re inviting forward-looking CEOs and top executives to join us in shaping the design of a new innovative CEO targeted Leadership Series designed from the ground up to invoke high levels of emotional intelligence, innovation, resiliency, performance, people mastery and culture building.
We’d like to invite you to have a voice in developing and customizing the design of this new Leadership Series. We will be using the techniques, mechanisms and the “secret sauce” that has been successfully used by Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Scott Farquhar (Atlassian), Bill Gates (Microsoft), Michael Dell (Dell Computer) and Daniel Goleman (Leading expert in Emotional Intelligence) to evoke and stimulate breakthrough bold thinking, high level innovation and culture building leadership practices.
Here is what some of the leaders mentioned above have said about these techniques and the secret sauce…
“Wow, seeing people experiment and innovate using these techniques reminds me of the energy and creativity we first embraced the day we put a door on two sawhorses!”
“It is amazing to watch the speed in which people can transition through change when they are emotionally intelligent!”
“We must consistently use these techniques to define the right KPIs that will ultimately drive high performance!”
June 21st, 2016
By Dawn Longshaw, Managing Director, Professional Recruitment, Vertical Bridge
Quite simply; when you don’t have the time, energy or resources to affect a recruiting program on your own.
There’s more to recruitment than pitching resumes to an open role – imagine your own dedicated recruitment firm sitting inside your business, bringing you the advantages of a network of established and cultivated recruitment relationships, and scaling with you based on your changing business needs. Managed Recruitment Services from Vertical Bridge can transform the way you secure your primary source of competitive advantage – talent – by optimizing the entire recruitment process from workforce planning to structuring and negotiating offers, from employment brand through to candidate care.
Managed Recruitment Services are not transactional like traditional contingency search– we become embedded in and dedicated to your business, sitting next to you to learn your business inside and out, soaking up your culture; becoming one of your biggest evangelists while providing recruitment solutions designed specifically for your company – particularly if you are without in-house HR support.
Strategic plans are created around team development, expansion and management; including manpower and skills gap analyses, workforce planning, timeframes to hire and budgeting. But there can be no strategy without market intelligence. Managed Recruitment Services from Vertical Bridge also include market mapping against your needs and competitive analysis of your recruiting landscape; to identify and predict trends that may affect current and future recruitment efforts. By working with your management team to help create and extend your employer brand to develop a compelling employer brand message and dependable talent pipelines, you’ll also get help becoming an employer of choice.
With Managed Recruitment Services internal as well as external resources are managed: providing a dedicated researcher/sourcing specialist; creating, building and managing a candidate database for active positions as well as future hires utilizing your existing processes and systems or developing new ones where required; and working with external recruitment partners when necessary, at a fraction of the regular cost, to expand your geographic reach.
This partnership approach means we behave as an extension of your organisation’s Human Resources team, primarily as the engine of your recruitment program but also by building staffing knowledge and skills into your organization. Working with efforts in retention, succession planning, and leadership development; Managed Recruitment Services from Vertical Bridge provide a continuous improvement process for your team.
Regardless of the size of your company, or whether it is a start-up, growing or mature organization; a results focused Managed Recruitment Services program reduces your average cost and time per hire while increasing hire quality. Embedded with your strategic manpower plan, Vertical Bridge has a vested interest in your organization’s success – more than transactional, it’s mutual.
June 17th, 2016
Guest blog by Sharon Davis & Christina Labarca, Giving Well
Giving away money is easy. Giving away money well is fiendishly difficult. These are the wise words of philanthropist Warren Buffet.
Philanthropy in the workplace is nothing new but how it is conducted is changing and evolving rapidly to meet the needs of the Millennials. A recent Deloitte Survey indicated 6 out of 10 Millennials said a sense of purpose is part of the reason they chose to work for their current employer. Employee driven giving programs are a unique way to attract and retain employees who are looking for an employer aligned with their values of giving back to the community and work-life balance.
When looking for a job/career, Millennials will often put a company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) ahead of other benefits. They are looking to make the world a better place and will make time to participate in charitable activities they are passionate about. Read more