Enjoy this brief excerpt from the book Lead by Greatness
, Chapter 1.
A company's competitive advantage can only be sustained if it is an authentic manifestation of that company's unique essence, its corporate soul.
Many corporate leaders worry about how quickly competitive advantage can be eroded by the instantaneous diffusion of information on the Internet, which rapidly transforms innovation into commoditization. However, when a company's competitive advantage is rooted in its corporate soul,
it is protected from the threat of imitation and can more easily be preserved. A company's soul is an intangible gold mine, and the real secret to developing its worth lies with great leadership--men and women of exceptional character.
Leaders of character are authentic. They know who they are and what the values and beliefs are that drive their choices. Their actions align with their values both in business and beyond as they courageously lead by their own greatness. Rather than imitating the "best practices" of others, they set the bar for best practice and leave their competitors striving to emulate them. They do not look over their shoulder at what their competitors are doing, because that just places limitations on what they themselves could be doing. Leaders of character inspire their organizations with something of the spirit of their own authenticity. An organization can only authentically be itself when it is aligned with the beliefs and passions of its leaders. The spirit of Southwest still reflects Herb Kelleher's spirit and his own beliefs. The same applies to Richard Branson and his Virgin Airlines--so different from Southwest but just as unique.