Brand U Work in the Disruption Economy

Posts in category Principles

Know Your Value Add

Knowing what value you add to your employer or customer is probably the most important thing you can know about your work and career. In an operational sense, adding value means having the appropriate abilities and aptitude to develop and deliver cost-effective products or services. But, the value-added concept also includes principles, values, and attitudes.

Chicken Soup Stories

‘Touchy and feely’ are in as companies promote inspiration and creativity. Companies can’t cut employees anymore since many cut to the bone. Many people feel cynical, dispirited and demoralized. What can be done?

Why not have Chicken Soup consultants read uplifting stories about people overcoming adversity in life and at work. One story explains how a client empathized and reacted to finding a friend’s mother was dying of cancer.

Get a Life!

The problem is that work is consuming more time. Family, social, and community activities eventually suffer. The ‘work until you drop’ mentality has lost much of its allure. A balanced life, especially to those of us who must juggle career and family has become a status symbol. More Brand U’s are hearing the refrain, ‘get a life.’

More than one in twelve Brand U’s has consciously made a life change such as reducing hours on the job or refusing a promotion to gain time with our families

Family Friendly Companies

Companies are simultaneously transforming and want to be ‘family friendly.’ These two trends sometimes seem incompatible. Each year, more companies are competing to be a poster company for Working Mother Magazine’s ‘Best Companies for Working Mothers.’ Brand U’s want more flexibility to balance work and family. However, companies want the banner that lists them in the top 100 family friendly companies while the reality is that competitive pressures on all of us are increasing.[i]

[i] Shellenberger, Sue, “There are Ways to Get Your Boss to be More Flexible,” Wall Street Journal, September 11, 1996, p. B1.

Blurring of Work and Family

Technology is also blurring the lines among work, family, and leisure. Work and technology are portable, transparent, and mixable. And as more of us see technology as fun, Brand U’s are using it to improve their lives both at work and at home.

But, work and life seem to be a zero-sum game – if we focus on one, the other tends to diminish! More Brand U’s are now questioning the benefits of working so long and so hard! Was or is it worth it? What are the sacrifices or tradeoffs along the way? What happens to our social and family life?

Do What You Say!

Practice what you preach.

Plautus, Roman Playwright

Leadership Accountability

Should a leader be held accountable to a higher standard of moral and ethical conduct than their employees? This is a compelling question that is raising suspicion, fear, and hackles of many in the workplace and in government. The visible he ‘said – she said’ disputes between President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky have focused this discussion.

Billy Graham, the well known evangelist and confidant to presidents, weighed in and said: “those entrusted with leadership – whatever their field – bear a special responsibility to uphold the highest standards of moral and ethical conduct, both publicly and privately.”[i] The courts have basically said the same thing in terms of sexual harassment and bias. No one should be immune.

[i] Graham, Billy, “The Moral Weight of Leadership,” NY Times, March 17, 1998, p. A 31.

Upbeat Stories

Warm, endearing stories and poems are often not part of an organizational culture. Business war stories of an individual or a team developing a hot product, working outrageous hours to please customers, or blazing new profitable markets are more often the stuff of corporate myths and legends.

What’s different now is that organizations are paying fabulous fees to hear warm, fuzzy and affirming stories of how people can make work more humane – to talk about things of the heart and soul.

Would these stories and approach work in your work place? The folks who brought you the Chicken Soup series of books are doing just that. Jack Canfield and Mark Hansen want to find and reinvigorate the sprit of the workplace by reading warm, compassionate stories to those who survived the continual transformation and downsizing wars.

Finding the Balance


Japanese fathers spend an average of 17 minutes a day with their young children.”

Jordan, Mary and Sullivan, Kevin, “Japan Pushes Dads to Spend More than 17 Minutes a Day with Kids,” The Oregonian, May 9, 1999, p. A16.

Brand U Leadership Redux


  • Lead the cultural change or transformation
  • Make a case for cultural change
  • Use organizational design as part of the business strategy
  • Ensure the successful change effort is collaboratively, systemically, and competently managed
  • Promote a continuous learning and adaptation environment
  • Are keepers of the organizational vision.[i]

[i] Sherwood, John J; Hoylman, Florence M, “The Total Quality Paradox: Part Two ‑ How to Make Total Quality Work,” Journal for Quality & Participation, June, 1993, p. 82‑91.