Archive for category branding

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Hi there! Welcome to LeadByChoice, a home for people who want to take bold and courageous leadership. I am Kimunya Mugo, a blogger, an author, leadership coach, communication specialist and a father.

About_Kimunya_BustMy mission with LeadByChoice is to inspire and motivate you to ‘Explore your true Identity, Unleash the Leader in you and Build your Legacy’.

I believe that leadership, communication and branding are so intricately connected, that without one, the others cease to flourish. These are the themes that you will engage with here at LeadByChoice.

Soon, I will be launching my new leadership coaching program. It is real and transformational. You will experience personal growth, build your team and enjoy your family more. You will grow into the leader you are meant to be.

 

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IMPORTANT NOTICE: This blog moved to www.LeadByChoice.co to serve you better. To receive updates and future offerings, I encourage you to SUBSCRIBE or click on the banner below or to the right of this screen. Thank you!

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How did I end up here?

From when I was a boy, I was fired up by ‘But why?’ when confronted with major decisions. This made me challenge the status quo. I did not always follow the crowd and tended to blaze my own trail.

I got tired of complaining about the mediocre ‘leadership’ I constantly found myself under. Deep down, I knew that I was born a leader. But life had dealt me some serious wounds that filled me with fear. A fear of failure.

Finally, I made a decision in 2013 that I would live fearlessly. I had to forgive someone who had hurt me when I was just seven years old. The degree to which you are able to tell your story is the degree to which you are able to heal. It helps us deal with our shame, our inadequacy. To deal with me!

When I was eleven, another candle was extinguished. I still remember that day like it was yesterday. Our English teacher was handing back our essay assignments. As was custom, he started off with the student with the highest grade and worked his way to the bottom.

And guess what? I was it! I had flunked! It was depressing to say the least. I had poured my heart to write an epic story…and I had. His reason for not grading my essay? “You copied your essay from somewhere else,” he said with a smirk on his face.

That added to my feeling of inadequacy. But that did not kill my dream! A small ember still flickered in the recesses of my battered spirit. But it took a lot of hard work to get that ember into a roaring fire!

In 2013, I quit my day job to fully commit myself to writing, coaching and serving you. The same year, I published my first book. Down But Not Out: Becoming A Significant Leader at Home was my key to freedom. In it, I share my journey of joy, pain, fears, rejection and finally triumph.

I began doing something that I could not do without. Something that mattered not only to me, but for the betterment of humanity.

It’s going to be the ride of my life, but I want to help people to become unmistakably authentic! My ultimate hope is that you find change from the inside that positively affects your outlook and everything or anyone you touch. In leadership, communication and branding…

My brief bio

I have worked in the not-for-profit sector for over 15 years. Trained as a scientist (horticulture), I have always loved communication. However, it was not a direct transition. I was kind of ‘pushed’ into it when my first boss put me in charge of developing my first website (by the way, I had no clue how to do it!).

My last day job was as Regional Director for Communication & Branding of WWF in eastern and southern Africa. Before that, I worked in a variety of roles for three other organizations (see full profile).

In my free time, I enjoy writing, reading, the outdoors, running, speaking and helping other parents.

I have been married to my best friend Harriette since 2004. Together, we have been parenting coaches since 2007. We have three children and make our home in Nairobi, Kenya.

My values

These are my solid five pillars that support my work and life:

  • I will enshrine boldness in my vision.
  • I want to inspire excellence in people.
  • I seek to be authentic in my leadership at all times.
  • I want to make a difference with my life.
  • I will consistently add to my knowledge.

Let’s get connected

I want to be available to you as much as I can. Sometimes life gets crazy and it takes me some time to respond, but I do my best to respond in a timely manner.

Here are the best ways we can connect better:

  • Subscribe to my Blog – This way, I promise to deliver any updates and goodies directly to your mailbox. My promise is NO SPAM and a guarantee that your email WILL NEVER be shared with anyone else.
  • Blog Comments – I really appreciate when you comment on my posts, and I do my best to respond to all of them. Let me know your thoughts on my posts and how I can best help you.
  • Email – Let’s have a conversation… It’s as simple as a click!
  • Twitter – I really like the freshness of Twitter! Follow me @KimunyaMugo then send me @mention or reply.
  • Facebook – I engage with your comments and mentions on Facebook. LIKE my Page and my Facebook Profile and let’s rock!

I Look Forward to Hearing From You!

What others are saying

On the blog…

“Love your stuff and your blog!” Kary Oberbrunner

“…Very impressive. I like your thinking and the breadth of topics you cover. I pray you do well.” Don Mercer

“Kimunya, thanks for the thought provoking pieces that prompt action. Your article on Leadership is HOPE was particularly very practical calling for a little pause from ‘our busy frame’ and to take time to impact for the future.” Ciru

“Fantastic! Looks like you have a passion for helping others, as well do I… Keep up the great work.” –Dave

On my book Down But Not Out: Becoming a Significant Leader at Home

“Authentic and transparent! A must read for any parent that desires to empower their children to live a life of significance in a world filled with challenges.”  Barry Smith

“Intimately candid and bold. A reminder that hope still exists if parents deliberately train their children to grow in ‘wisdom, stature and favor with God and man’.” Michael Oyier, Psychologist & Media Practitioner, Founder & Director Serenity Life Coaching.

“I loved this book and read it in one sitting. I could not put it down. It is beautifully written full of lessons and love. The whole book resonated with me. Even though I live in Canada, it is amazing how our experiences of love and loss are similar. Values start at home. This book shows you that and how to weave your values into your leadership. 10 out of 10!” Cheri Essner

“I enjoyed reading Down But Not Out as Kimunya poured out his experience and learning so that others may benefit. I like the authenticity and practical step by step exploration. Having attended the same parenting class with him and Harriette they have done justice to lessons learnt. Great job Kimunya looking forward to your next releases. In the meantime enjoying your Lead by Choice blog.” Ciru

“Excellent book. Kimunya articulates well what it takes to lead. He remains very authentic narrating all high and low moments in his personal and family life to illustrate and tie in all the required prerequisites for successful leadership at home. A genuine 5 star read.” Amazon.com Customer


[photo: Teddy Mitchener, HouseOfPhotography]

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When You Are Not in the Room…

medium_5061697780An interview that Bob Burg held with Fox Business Brand Correspondent Bruce Turkel got me thinking beyond branding. As a communication specialist, I was already drawn into the conversation on messaging and audiences. It was easy pickings for me, this is what I do for a living anyway.

However, nine minutes into the twenty-minute interview, Bruce “sucker-punched” me! Bob asked him to describe for the audience what a brand is. His response was one I have also given many times to others in my line of work. However, when I heard it from Bruce, it hit me like a run-away train!

“Branding is not a logo. A brand is not a tagline. A brand is not an ad, it’s not a brochure, it’s not a website,” began Bruce. “A brand encompasses every communication touch point between you and your audience… A brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room. It’s what proceeds you when you walk into the room…”

I could not help but see some branding parallels to leadership. What do I leave in a roomful of people, and what proceeds me before I even show up? I thought of three things I need to respond to if my brand as a leader can stand the test of time: Reliability, Responsiveness and Responsibility [TweetMe].

Reliable – Great leaders are honest and can be relied upon to keep their word [TweetMe]. When plans are made together, it is expected of the leader to honor them. It doesn’t matter whether they are written or verbal, they should be fulfilled unless there are seriously extenuating circumstances.

Responsive – Empathy is a key characteristic of a true leader [TweetMe]. How do you respond to a crisis? Do you empathize with those you lead or do you come down on them ruthlessly? Do you show love them while still being firm? Leaders who are responsive do not only correct, they point towards the right direction and walk the path with the concerned party. They lead by example.

Responsible – A leader is not only responsible for those he or she leads, they are also responsible to take ownership of their shortcomings [TweetMe]. You can’t be a leader and pass the buck at the same time. When something goes wrong, be brave enough to take the bullet.

What other issues do you think guide your leadership brand? I would love to hear from you.

photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc

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Take leadership of your social media presence

large__3256031851Yesterday started off with an important lesson for me. I often look at leadership through a prism of complex models, unwavering influence, soaring inspiration, etc. As I struggled to create a simple list on my Twitter feed, something occurred to me. That it is  important to take leadership of my social media presence.

The challenge I had was how to link to some great contacts in a Google + group that I belong to. What should have taken 15 minutes at the most ended gobbling up nearly 2 hours of my time! Why? It was challenging to cross-link some users due to mismatched information or avatars. For a few, I simply gave up.

That left me pondering. Do my followers go through the same tooth-pulling process? Would they hang around long enough to engage with me? I may have great content, a service or a product. But how credible am I if my online presence is varied and fragmented? I realized that this not only hurts my brand, it also has the potential to limit the growth of and engagement with my audience.

So, what three things did I learn? To take leadership of your online presence, these are a minimum must-have:

1. An icon or figure that represents you

An avatar is the graphical representation of the user or the user’s alter ego or character [Wikipedia]. It is important for people you’ve never met face to face to be able to visually identify you [or your business] easily. There are a number of online services that you can use to help you to manage your avatar. One very popular one that I use is Gravatar. Once you create your account, your avatar will be available for use across your social media platforms, blogs, etc. This one-stop-shop saves you time and worry on whether you have uploaded your new avatar on all your platforms. You just upload once and link to all.

2. A well-written bio

The importance of a well-written bio can’t be over-emphasized. It is the first window your followers first get to ‘know’ you. Spend some quality time to introduce yourself so that your followers will have no problem understanding you no matter which platform they engage with you on. Twitterbiogenerator and this article on ‘How to Create an Engaing and Effective Bio Page’  are a good place to start from.

3. Cross-connect your social media

This makes it easier for your audience to find and follow you. Remember, you may have followers on Facebook who are not following you on Twitter or on your blog if you have one. I am still struggling in this area because I need to be careful not to flood my followers with too much content. I have found Michael Hyatt’s ‘Social Media Tools That Will Save You Time’ a very useful guide.

What other tips or tools do you use and would recommend that enhance your online presence?

photo credit: Rosaura Ochoa via photopin cc

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What’s your name?

Roots run deep

Never forget, roots run deep.

[Excerpt from my new book soon in a bookstore near you…“Home Bound: Lead at Home in 6 Intentional Steps”]

I recently came across a very interesting but sad description of a family’s lineage. Dr. Kevin Leman* describes his as ‘A Well-Watered Ancestry’. This is not to be confused with the charming, progressive, and healthy type of ancestry. “I come from a long line of drinkers,” says Dr. Leman. “Virtually all Lemans enjoyed slugging down a few cold ones. Okay, not a few. Many.” Not many people I know desire to provide such an ancestry or build a similar foundation for their family.

When we first discovered that we were going to become parents, the joy I felt is indescribable. My heart nearly burst with pride. I was going to be a father! However, questions ravaged my poor mind like a bad storm and tore at my innards like the worst tornado ever. Would I be a good father? How would I take care of the growing family? What if I lost my job, then what? Will the baby ‘steal’ my time with my wife? Would my employer insist on sending me out on mission for extended periods? And many more!

My mind was desperately trying to answer, “What is your name?” It was a desperate attempt to begin molding the definition of my family and the identity that would be its anchor.

To appreciate where we were coming from, we will have to go back to the beginning. Like Dr. Leman, I too had a ‘well-watered’ ancestry, especially on my father’s side. My grandfather loved the tipple, I have no recollection of a single night he came home sober during those days we would be visiting him and my grandmother. My uncle and two aunties also partied hard. Alcohol was a feature in any of our family events, it is a miracle that some of us did not end up thoroughly imbibed at a very tender age!

With this background, I had to break traditions that were not healthy for my life and that of my new family too. It was time to reclaim the dignity of the name. This identity would go against common-speak and stand out for its resilience, integrity, and above all, a spirit of servant-leadership.

Naming our children was not going to be routine, it was not a labeling process. It was a re-birth of my wife and I. We were going to bestow a legacy upon our children. From birth they were going to walk in the promise, a promise that they were made for greatness. Please note that, in greatness, I do not necessarily mean they will become celebrities or some beings with an elevated status. I would not mind if they did, but this was not the primary focus.

Their names were just the first step to a future where they would become people that matter. They would become pillars of hope in a world of pain, deceit, poverty, and mediocrity.

How are you taking charge of leadership in your home? What deliberate steps are you making to become that intentional leader your family deserves?


* Dr. Kevin Leman, What a Difference a Daddy Makes: The indelible Imprint a Dad Leaves on His Daughter’s Life (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2000), 72.
 
“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
 

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Your family brand influences your child’s personal brand

medium_4620813803Something different happens when parents take up intentional leadership at home. They set aside time for play, talk and reading. They cook, shop and dream as a team. They laugh, cry and reminisce together. They become one, a family with a common identity, though the characteristics of individual family members will vary.

Due to this tight bond, the family becomes the true ‘North’ especially during times of conflict or pain, as well as joy and celebration. As the individuals have developed a sense of identity, how they react can be clearly referenced to a particular brand. That family brand has a significant influence on how the children’s personal brands evolve over time… [TweetMe]

I explore this in its entirety on my guest vlog “Personal Branding Begins at Home” on Peter Sterlacci’s blog, BeYB… ‘Believe. Become. Be Your Brand’. It is also an excerpt from my upcoming book that explores the critical steps of bringing leadership back home.

About BeYB
Peter Sterlacci is the pioneer of personal branding in Japan. Building on his background in intercultural consulting & training and Certified by Reach, the global leader in personal branding, he works with on-the-move careerists in global companies in Japan. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSterlacci

photo credit: stefano principato via photopin cc

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