Tag Archives: leadership

Top Five Brand and Innovation Tips From 2014

Research insights from the faculty of The University of Texas at Austin

Texas EnterpriseI work among brilliant people at the McCombs School of Business. For your benefit and mine, I keep my eyes open and watch for the big ideas that are most useful for brand builders and innovators. Here are five of the best tips gleaned from Texas Enterprise during 2014.

1. Don’t Tell Me About Your Brand, Engage With My Life

Febreze BottleProfessor Art Markman reminds us that communication is only one, and not the most important, factor in engaging consumers with a brand. “We are all lazy creatures,” he writes. “That means that [marketers] need to help customers to arrange their environments in ways that support the continued engagement with a product.” He points to a redesign of the Febreze container, designed to encourage consumers to leave the product out and visible rather than hidden away under the counter. Usage and sales increased.

2. Your Personal Brand is About Relationships, Not Just Connections

In a must-see presentation for professionals, especially those currently looking for a job, Rajiv Garg uses his research on social networks to show that the quality of your professional network will advance your career, not the size. While having hundreds of LinkedIn connections may reward your ego, when it comes to leveraging your network when you need it most, there is nothing that replaces trusted colleagues who know you well and are willing to vouch for your abilities. Garg offers three key suggestions for building your personal professional brand: Identify, Connect and Convert.

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Herb Kelleher’s Classic 14 Ways to Be a Leader

“You must be jazzed by problem solving, the same way that a fireman gets a buzz out of extinguishing fires.”

Herb KelleherOriginally published in McCombs Today.

Despite soaring fuel costs and a glut of domestic airline seats, Southwest Airlines reported its 32nd consecutive annual profit in 2004. At that year’s McCombs BBA commencement, Herb Kelleher, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Southwest Airlines, delivered the keynote remarks in a lecture entitled “Fourteen Ways to Be a Leader.”

Kelleher began by proclaiming the commencement to be a splendid occasion. “Why? Because you are the kind of audience I crave; you have to listen to my thoughts, no matter how dull, how puerile, or even how depraved those thoughts might be,” he said with a grin.

The address that followed was classic Kelleher.

Ten years later, since retired from his leadership role at Southwest, Kelleher remains an astute and beloved commentator on life, business, and the principles of success. As commencement approaches for 2014, we’re pleased to present “Fourteen Ways to Be a Leader, Centennial Edition” with one modification (point No. 4), suggested by Kelleher in retrospect.

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Will A Workplace Crisis Enhance Your Personal Brand?

“Don’t take jobs where the guys before you have done great. Instead, follow losers.”

Career OpportunityFour-and-a-half months into my job as director of communications at McCombs School of Business I began a journey that taught me one of the great lessons in leadership.

I received a visit from a noticeably nervous colleague from the computer services department. “We’ve been hacked,” he stammered.

As my mind began to wrap around the import of that statement he proceeded to lay out a worst case scenario for tens of thousands of potentially compromised social security numbers from alumni, students and staff. I immediately called my small team together and told them our communication skills were about to take on new importance for the next few months.

It was only in the aftermath of that crisis communications response that I was able to account for the personal career positives that followed. Yes, after months of 80 hour work weeks, scrambling to set up specialized communication tools, phone banks and mailings (while personally apologizing to perturbed alumni for hours each day) I actually recognized a silver lining in that miserable cloud. It turns out my personal brand within the university was burnished, not tarnished, by the experience.

Lessons in Leadership — Embrace Crisis

John Daly, a highly popular executive coach and communications professor at The University of Texas at Austin, encourages professional audiences to embrace crisis as your opportunity to shine.

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Are You a Boss Who Drives Innovation, or Squashes It?

As Warren Buffett has written, it’s not until the tide goes out that you know who is swimming naked.

Make Us More Innovative by Jeffrey PhillipsThe new Texas Enterprise business and public policy news site just launched from The University of Texas at Austin, where Jeffrey Phillips, VP Marketing for OVO Innovation and author of Make Us More Innovative, recently discussed six archetypes or roles that senior executives play in fostering (or poisoning) innovation within their organizations.


The first role or archetype is the Visionary.  In this case think Richard Branson from Virgin.  He has big ideas about transforming a number of industries.  His is the public face of the company and he seems to be the motive factor in Virgin’s innovation efforts, yet he can’t possibly be an expert in so many different fields.  He has one belief — that he can bring the “Virgin” way to many different industries and force them to respond.


Brainiacs are often Visionaries but they themselves are also the source for many of the ideas that are implemented.  Steve Jobs is my archetype for the Brainiac.  He is the public face for innovation and I suspect the source for many of Apple’s ideas.  He leads a very top down driven innovation program and is active in the program as an idea generator, communicator and lead user.


There are many executives who understand that this is the best role they can play in their organizations where innovation is concerned.  Jeffrey Immelt at GE springs to mind.  He is constantly spotlighting work within the many divisions of GE that is innovative, and works hard internally to champion innovation, including providing funding for the efforts.  I don’t think Immelt is necessarily a Visionary and I’m relatively sure he’s not a Brainiac, but his efforts in Cheerleading are key to the changes and focus on innovation within GE.

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