The Silent Business Killer

toxic-business

I’ve had the privilege of experiencing the full picture for many business brands from behind the curtain. From that position I’ve seen the great, the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.

I must clarify. When I say brand I refer to the whole business package, visual brand, communications and culture. Many brand owners forget about the last one and in my opinion it is the most important. Having printed values in a drawer somewhere doesn’t count.

When brand culture is lacking, the whole brand fails, like a fine Swiss watch that hasn’t been wound it looks good but can’t tell you the time to save itself.

To create raving fans out of clients, first you must have raving fans within who serve them. It’s not hard to do, but it doesn’t happen by accident, nor can it happen in an environment where it is not nurtured. Cultural brand success and the creation of raving fans within, are only the result of strong and repeated brand value based activities driven by the leaders of the business. It must be lived and breathed by all.

If you have 15mins check out this interview to see how Airbnb founder Brian Chesky talks about it, especially after scaling up.

I’ve come to know businesses where the atmosphere is so toxic, the air is thick and uncomfortable to those who are not crippled by it. How on earth is one to flourish in such an environment?

Some tell tale signs are an absence of long term employees, frequent staff turnover, and of course little or no repeat business. These businesses are typically lead by people who don’t understand why they aren’t achieving their goals.

I’ve also had the pleasure of knowing great business brands that amongst numerous other achievements, every year are celebrating staff anniversaries of 5, 10, 20, and 25 years! This is a clear sign they are doing it right and their culture shows it. It feels good to be there from the moment you walk in the door. Such a contrast!

Today people don’t stick around a toxic environment unless they are locked in for some reason, like a visa. If you’re in one and you can leave, run, life is too short!

If you are a leader of a brand, think about what you want your brand culture to be. Think about who you need to be and how you need to live (no I didn’t say act), to lead your team of raving fans inside your business. It all starts at the top. Your example is the benchmark for your brand and trust me, your people see you differently to how you see yourself.

While I have given a stark contrast here for impact, there are also many good brands that want to be great. The good news is that it’s not rocket science and there are processes to learn and implement to make your brand great, as long as you have a committed leader. I can help you with that. Get in touch with me to learn more.

Have you experienced either a toxic environment or a great one? Share your thoughts with me.

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    Matt Malouf The Fortune Institute
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