One trend in organizations today that I am not sure existed even ten years ago is the freedom employees have to promote their personal identity on company time. Companies today seem to allow and actually encourage employees to brand themselves separate from the organization. Whether it is with a personal blog or through authoring a book, employees can have a larger personal following and name recognition than the top leadership of the organization and at times even greater than the organization. This is true in the corporate world and the church world.
There are obvious fears or concerns for organizations with this trend. The more a team member becomes known the more likely it is that he or she will be recruited by another organization. Also, a concern would be that the increased popularity of the individual could distract from his or her responsibilities to the organization. Furthermore, though probably not admitted by most senior leaders, there could be a jealousy factor if a subordinate becomes better known and gets more recognition than the leader.
Personally I welcome this change in organizations. When we started Grace Community Church our worship leader Daniel Doss already had some national recognition and we encouraged his continued growth and success independent of the church. This sometimes meant we had to adjust schedules to accommodate his outside interests, but I always felt it was for the overall good of the church. Today I am excited about the potential several of our staff members have in creating their own personal brand through their blog and influence and I want to encourage their efforts to market their ministry on a broader scale, even independent of the church.
While I recognize the concerns and know I ultimately have the responsibility to see that the ministry of Grace Community Church is realized, I see several advantages for organizations in allowing personal branding:
It allows great leaders to stay with the organization longer. If a leader has potential, he or she will naturally look for more opportunities to express his or her leadership skills. Personal branding allows an avenue for personal growth, while the employee remains with the organization.
It creates a win/win for the organization. As a team member grows personally and he or she receives recognition independent of the organization, the team member’s personal growth means he or she has more to offer the organization and brings more attention, insight, and expertise to the organization.
Allowing personal branding creates a healthier and more rewarding environment within the organization that allows it to occur, which can help the organization attract and retain better leaders to the organization.
Do you see this trend? Can you think of examples of organization where this is happening? Do you agree or disagree with an organization encouraging personal branding?