When I first started this blog and chose “Excellence is a lifestyle” as the tagline, a learned friend of mine nearly discouraged me. He said “Excellence is mostly used for religious/Christian events; it is not suitable for career related topics.” I disagreed with him. In as much as most churches use the word excellence in their motto or programs, Excellence is by no way limited to church or religious activities. In my opinion, it is this wrong mindset that makes some Christians to be ‘legendary’ in church but mediocre in their careers or academics. Addressing this wrong mindset is one of the reasons behind this column of the blog particularly for Christians in the workplace. Christ was not mediocre at anything he did while on earth. Excellence was His lifestyle and nothing less is expected of us His followers; we are expected to follow His Excellent footsteps on all fronts. Meeting and sharing this dream with Pastor Abiodun Famujuro reinforced my belief that Excellence can indeed be a lifestyle, within and outside the church, especially if you want to succeed as a career or business person. That brings us to today’s CEO Memoir – Excellence As A Brand.
Excellence As A Brand – Abiodun Famojuro
“One of the greatest tragedy of enterprise in developing nations is that in some situations, mediocrity has been elevated to an art that frustrates the true expression of excellence”
-Abiodun. Famojuro, February 2016.
The word excellence refers to a state of flawless execution of an act, event, occurrence or an expression that impacts the observer and receiver irrespective of his or her age, creed and nationality. This begs the question for every entrepreneur or business person – Does your brand depict excellence? Does your person/organization represent|communicate excellence?
The above questions will be examined critically but before I proceed, it is important that there is no assumption of what the word brand means. It is worthy of note that like most things in the world, the dictionary definition of most words have evolved over centuries and so words and meanings are no longer what they used to be!
The word “Brand” used to be the “the name given to a product or service” however, today, the word “Brand” means a whole lot more than that. Brand can be defined as “the signature representation that carries and communicates the value of a product, service or person/organization, in the minds of its consumers, observers and receivers”. Thus a human being now has the capacity to be regarded as a brand and must carry a distinguishing signature that sets him or her apart. In recent years, some organizations and individuals have been able to embody excellence as a brand both in the person and product brand categorization. Examples include: Bill Gates and Microsoft, Steve Jobs and the Apple corporation, Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook.
Excellence as a brand carries with it a great responsibility and greater expectation with minimal or non-permissible room for error or excuses. The demand on the global scale in the world of entrepreneurship has risen to a level that if you or your organization is to play in the global space, then your product, service, person and organization must play by the dictates of excellence, otherwise, your brand will suffer a major backlash which in some cases it might never recover from.
Your brand will be a true expression of excellence if it not only meets the expectation of its consumers, observers and receivers, but also consistently surpasses their expectation. An example is the famous interaction of the Queen of Sheba with King Solomon in the bible who was literally blown away by what she personally experienced beyond what she was told!
Your brand cannot be said to be excellent if you are constantly in the habit of apologizing for your organizations failings. “We are sorry” is not a bad word in itself but when it becomes your company’s signature tune, then your brand takes hit that replaces excellence with the word mediocrity. Please note that excellence does not have another name, it either expresses excellence as a brand or it doesn’t, there are no middle grounds!
To achieve excellence as a brand requires a greater degree of sacrifice, futuristic conception and execution. The continuous and consistent determination to improve one’s self, product and service- commitment to outdo yourself and break your own records. To excel as a brand, you should not find yourself playing catch up in your area of strength or relevance!
The resolution to be a brand that evokes the emotion of excellence in the minds of consumers often moves beyond perception to reality. I personally hold dear to my heart certain values that I know aids my pursuit of excellence as a brand and I will share them with you:
- Do Not Lie: The determination to be truthful in all circumstances is a key factor. Any brand that embraces lying as a brand policy has set itself or himself for destruction; it might not be evident but the countdown clock has been activated. Excellence as brand does not mean that you are infallible, it means that you continually seek to better yourself and you give no room for your integrity to be questioned. The absence of being truthful has destroyed brands over the years, sadly many will still repeat this mistake.
- Do Not Assume: In science it is often said that assumptions are important, I have a different approach and mindset. To manifest excellence as a brand is a deliberate act and decision which implies that you don’t become excellent by chance or coincidence! You must ask questions at every given opportunity if your expression is excellence otherwise your assumptions can and often times do turn out to be costly. A good example is to assume that every economic year would be better than the last; this would obviously be a dangerous assumption. You must scrutinize and dig up information on all available facts relating to your enterprise, don’t take anyone’s word for it. Conduct your personal research!
- Do Not Make Excuses: Excellence as a Brand has no place for the generation of excuses! Your clients and those with whom you engage with do not pay you to deliver excuses, they pay you to deliver results. It is a major brand erosion to be armed at all times with excuses! Every leader worth his or her salt knows that the level of expectation they carry is way higher than that of the average Joe or Jane!
I am personally obsessed about excellence and strive to reflect my brand in that dimension. There are global brands that have survived decades and show no sign of letting up because their brands communicate excellence in their areas of expertise!
What do you want your brand to be known for?
Abiodun Famojuro is the CEO of Cogito Ergo Sum Ltd., a World class Event solutions and Media Organization headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria. He is a multi-dimensional individual – a lawyer by training, a minister of the gospel by calling, a prolific speaker, and an exceptional entrepreneur. He is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, United Kingdom.
You can contact him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @bbdejuro. You can also learn more CEO|entrepreneurialship secrets by following his twitter hashtag #LessonsInEntrepreneurship every Wednesday by 10am.