The Innovation Framework
Leadership Manifesto

Can A Leadership Manifesto Make You A Better Manager?

Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a veteran leader, a concrete “why” helps guide every decision. A leadership manifesto just might make you a better manager.

Companies like lululemon athletica have embraced the powerful branding effects of manifestos. By plastering these declarations all over its stores, website, and gear, every customer can relish in and relate to the brand’s guiding mantra, which includes these ideas: “We are passionate about sweating every day, and we want the world to know it. Breathing deeply, drinking water, and getting outside also top the list of things we can’t live without.”

But manifestos don’t just stand to benefit corporations that want to tie their brands to something bigger. Declaring personal values and goals to the world can lend enormous benefits to executives, too.

As my career progressed and my team expanded, I realized my goals were getting further away from me. I needed to root myself—and my team—in a concrete “why” that guided every decision I made. I set out to create a leadership manifesto. And I’ve become a stronger leader because of it.

The Benefits Of A Leadership Manifesto

Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a veteran leader at a multinational brand, carving your personal beliefs and approach to work in stone can provide:

• Professional alignment: When you’re looking for the right career opportunity, your manifesto will help pinpoint what matters to you in a future company. Ideally, you’re going to work for a company that echoes your values, and your manifesto is the perfect baseline for comparison.

• Leadership vision: Knowing where you stand in the rapidly changing marketing landscape will keep you focused on what’s most important. It’s difficult to tackle everything at once. A solid manifesto will help prioritize your actions.

• Personal branding: Your manifesto is a branding tool that lets you announce to the world your beliefs as a professional and why you do business the way you do. That way, you can attract work that resonates with this mission.

Four Areas That Will Inspire Your Mantra

Your manifesto should mirror both your personal and professional beliefs. But before putting pen to paper, here are a few aspects you need to think through and be sure to incorporate:

1. The customer experience: Customer experience is the No. 1 consideration of your manifesto because, at the end of the day, your job is about people. You need to articulate how you service customers and what you think about their journeys.

2. Your passion and industry analysis: Talk about why you love what you do and why you do it. Then align those thoughts with what’s going on in the industry. Because technology is continually disrupting industries, this should consume most of your sector analysis.

3. Your go-to-market strategy: How will you navigate the marketing environment? Your personal manifesto should help guide which social networks you choose to join (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest) and which ones you’re most active on.

4. Your values: Your values define you as a person and as a professional. They also set the tone for what others can expect when they interact with you. One of the core tenets of my manifesto is to affect real change. This applies to the bottom line, but it also includes creating a positive social impact.

Marrying Your Personal Manifesto To Your Business Goals

As a leader, it’s your job to build resilient, high-performing teams and advocate your brand’s product or service to the public. Ideally, you should work for a company you wholeheartedly support and whose products you admire. Then your personal manifesto will naturally overlap with many of the same values outlined in your corporate messaging.

Once you’ve laid the groundwork for your personal manifesto, make sure your company’s mission also shines through. To create a strong and clear association, infuse it with brand-specific language.

Your manifesto should help you navigate the professional sphere, and because it also relates to the companies you represent, they have a stake in it, too. Mull it over with your team often, and ask for feedback to improve it.

This statement is ultimately a reflection of who you are, so you need to refine it as you change personally and professionally. At least once a year, pull it out to review it. Ask, “What’s changed?” and “How have I changed?” Tweak it as necessary.

With the proliferation of emerging technologies and social shifts, it’s hard to keep up. They also make it easy to forget what you stand for—as a professional, and as a person.

Take the time to pause and reflect on your personal beliefs and goals. Then you can lead a more fulfilling and mission-driven life, both in and outside your business.

Amber Bezahler

B-school Meets D-School

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