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Visionary Chronicle: Lead Don’t Follow

In Bryan Smeltzer's new Podcast he discusses how great brands establish and maintain their leadership position.

By leading, you determine your future and your eventual destiny as a brand. Followers have never created anything which set the standard or was considered best in class.

Safe is Risky, Risky is Safe, great brands balance between being both risky and safe. This balancing act is heavily weighted towards risk with great brands, but they also have reality checks along the way to greatness. Followers always move towards safe; as long as leaders take the risk, there is no need to take a risk. A commodity-driven strategy, with the primary advantage being price point, is not a long-term plan for success.

Setting the standard for others to follow is a competitive advantage few have been able to attain, but those who achieve this status are generational and impact our daily lives;

• Apple; iPod to iPhone to a complete eco-system.
• Tesla; 100% electric vehicle w/ charging infrastructure.
• Amazon; one-stop shopping while setting the service standard.

Leading requires Vision, the Vision to predict what others do not yet see. The following are traits of these Visionary leaders;

1. Inspire; they have an infectious attitude, a humble demeanor, and are great team leaders.

2. Emotionally intelligent; understands and anticipates the needs of others.

3. Open-minded; does not shut down other's ideas, collaborates as a team, but inevitably makes the right decision for the brand.

4. Innovation-driven; always looking for a better way, product, or service and finding a way to set the future, a "Break-away" that leapfrogs over your competitors.

5. Collaborates; ensures they receive feedback from the team, ensuring others feel part of the process and your success.

6. Magnetic personality; draws people in, provides a feeling of trust, a passion for the brand, and confidence in executing their strategy.

7. Optimistic; always providing the positive vs. the negative.

8. Risk-taker; safe is risky, always embraces innovation as a strategy for long-term leadership.

9. Strategic; has a plan for the future and a definitive path to achieve their Vision.

10. Persistence; always finds an alternate path to success, breaking down barriers and moving forward.

Leading while others follow is an inherent trait of true Visionary leaders. You can not execute a strategy while looking in the rearview mirror or watching your competition. Never take your eye off your road to success!

Stay committed, maintain your Vision, and secure your Leadership position!