Marketing Your Leadership Style: A Model

Article excerpt

This is the seventh in a series of articles revolving around the issues and topics that will be presented at the 10th Annual Leadership Summit, scheduled for September 19-21, 2002, in Charlotte, N.C. Carolyn Sawyer will serve as the key presenter on Friday afternoon, September 20, there she will address the leadership challenges of local officials and "Making it (Leadership) Work in Your Community."

Generally, leaders know how to get elected. But once you are elected, how do you lead? Or better yet, how do you implement your leadership plans for the community you serve?

Marketing leadership can be very much like implementing a strategy for a product or a service. In this case, the product or service is the person, who is planning to serve the citizens of their community.

Accordingly, the steps outlined in a traditional marketing plan can be useful. To begin, the first stop of your leadership marketing plan must start with an objective. Just what is your reason(s) for wanting to lead the community? Honestly ask yourself, what is it that you hope to achieve? What is your goal?

Some potential leaders might want to follow a family legacy or become famous. Others may want to satisfy a power craving or harbor plans of wealth. Maybe you are one of the "Kennedy clones"--you interpreted the late president's famous speech as a spiritual calling to serve. On the other hand, many local leaders have connected with an important local issue that stimulated their interest and desire to become a leader of their local community.

What's your real motive? How can you measure your success? And finally, a favorite marketing question--what is the return on the investment--how do you know if the time, energy and money invested is worth it?

Assuming you are clear on your main objective, the second stop is setting your goals for the short, mid and long term. This allows you to set benchmarks. It is an easy way to determine whether something has been done, at a certain time, versus the overall success of your objective. Timing in leadership can be a critical tool for communicating to others your effort and/or effectiveness. A leader without a plan or a timeline for delivery often loses the attention of their constituency. Citizens will do better when they know what's coming. "What can we expect?"

The Strategy: Putting it to work

The third stop is research. Effective leaders rarely develop strategy without research, which can be either formal or informal. …