My initial interest in leadership training was in trying to understand the role of the leader as communicator. This led me to study verbal interaction analysis and, specifically negotiation and influencing skills. This work enabled me to work with leaders in many organizations around the world and how they engaged with a full range of stakeholders. This journey then took me to research the issues of corporate identity and corporate reputation. I am now fascinated by the fact that effective leadership cannot be understood by simply examining the traditional models of leader-follower, but needs to be examined in terms of broader leader-stakeholder collaboration. The degree to which leaders get this right, directly affects corporate identity and reputation. This dynamic of leadership, identity and reputation is best articulated by Fombrun & Rindova (1996)
"To focus on a company's reputation is to determine how it deals with all of its constituents: it is to focus on a company's character or identity. Identity constrains what actions a company takes, how it makes decisions, how it treats employees, how it reacts to crises. Managers and employees tend to act in ways consistent with the company's identity. Identity is therefore the backbone of reputation. Identity develops from within and limits a company's long term actions and its performance as benchmarked against rivals. Identity explains the kind of relationship companies establish with their critical constituencies, employees, consumers, investors and their local communities."
"A corporate reputation is the a collective representation if a firm's past actions and results in the firm's abilities to deliver valued outcomes to multiple stakeholders. It gauges a firm's relative standing both internally with employees and externally with its other stakeholders, in both its competitive and institutional environments."
All of our leadership, sales and marketing, and high performance team training is designed, developed and delivered from the basis of understanding the link between corporate identity and reputation.
Fomburn, C. J., & Rindova, V. Who's Tops and Who decides? The Social construction of Corporate Reputations, New York University: School of Business Working Paper, 1996.