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Reading has always been a hobby of mine. I love a good spy novel as much as a well-written biography, and I recently revisited a personal favorite, Stephen E. Ambrose’s D-Day: June 6, 1944: The Battle for the Normandy Beaches. This look at the day that shaped the 20th century focuses a great deal on the stories of the young, ordinary men who emerged as strong, extraordinary heroes under the supreme command of Dwight D. Eisenhower.
What has always intrigued me is Eisenhower’s style of leadership and the factors that led him to become the significant historical figure we know today. Eisenhower was a bit of an enigma. Following World War II he had enormous political success, although he was not a politician. What he possessed was complete transparency and honesty—in short he was a man to be trusted, a man who looked to the future, a man to do the job. Eisenhower once said, “The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionable integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army or in an office. “
Leadership at Nu Skin
At Nu Skin, we believe in that same idea of leadership. We hold an unwavering foundation of integrity, and we look forward with hope to a brighter future, yet recognize that we must start from where we are and work to make our vision reality. Such was the case 32 years ago as our founders looked at the landscape of personal-care products available and decided that they could create something better. Then they rolled up their sleeves and went to work. In the process, they found that there were others who shared their goals and vision. Together, they laid the foundation for the Nu Skin we know today.
We pride ourselves on our continuous ability to innovate. But not just regarding product development; it is also for business processes and daily work. It is a continual march toward excellence and flawless execution. Small daily improvements add value, just as large strategic changes do. Every employee can see problems in their individual work and can innovate in small ways that incrementally add value to the organization. We believe everyone is a part of making Nu Skin “better every day.”
Throughout more than three decades of business, Nu Skin has seen its share of great leaders. And just as we can look at Eisenhower and learn how his leadership style led to the success of his endeavors, we can learn from the leadership of others to accelerate our own progression. To this end, several years ago we undertook a study to learn what shaped our most successful leaders. We interviewed top Nu Skin salesforce leaders from around the world and found that there were five key things they all had in common—we call them key success drivers. They dream of their life in an ideal state, set goals toward that end, believe in their ability to reach their goals, take action by going to work, and share their vision with others. And while seeing this commonality was interesting, implementing these leadership traits and teaching them to our distributors and employees has helped many to become truly powerful leaders.
At Nu Skin we believe that each of us is a leader, and we believe in building leadership at all levels within the organization. Our personal leadership is the influence and impact we have on the achievement of our mission, vision and values. So based on the leadership principles we learned from our salesforce, two years ago at Nu Skin we launched what we call our “Leadership Brand,” which has become the framework for employee development at Nu Skin.
The Leadership Brand provides us with a key resource for guiding personal development and for coaching and mentoring others. It describes and encourages the development of the leadership that is expected of each of us and what we should both be and do. It is broken out into six key elements that center on a common core. Each of these elements has been strategically developed with guiding principles and dives deep into the roles of leadership and the competencies and skills required for success at Nu Skin:
- Build the Next Generation
- Shape the Future
- Engage Today’s Talent
- Execute with Excellence
- Collaborate to Build One Nu Skin
- Innovate to Inspire
The common core these principles circle is best summed up by the phrase, “Be a Force for Good by Empowering People to Improve Lives.” This has been purposefully placed at the core because we believe that how you do something is equally as important as what you do.
We use Leadership Brand trainings to help employees develop personal proficiency by understanding their tendencies, strengths and weaknesses. We can each extract important lessons from our life experiences, and the Leadership Brand empowers our employees with tools to help them apply what they learn with courage and optimism.
It’s not always easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. Becoming a leader requires equal measures of self-awareness and self-discipline, along with a certain mindfulness of the intertwined nature of life and work. For those employees who are engaged in improving their own leadership skills, the Leadership Brand provides a foundation where personal proficiency and integrity combine to help us improve the lives of others. And at the end of the day, true leaders’ success is best measured by their ability to help those around them to become successful.
Eisenhower’s contemporaries and subsequent commentators have said time and again that he was chosen for his leadership role because of his unwavering values and character. Those who stood behind him trusted him because he had demonstrated a noble and incorruptible character, and had proved himself an exceptional leader.
Our employees understand that the future depends on consistent and meaningful interactions that affirm who we are and how we operate as a company, as well as how we represent ourselves as individuals. We want employee leaders to be deliberate as they show the way through teaching, coaching and mentoring others. Each Nu Skin leader inherits an obligation as part of his or her position to carry on the legacy of the company’s mission.
Throughout my career, I’ve rubbed elbows with some powerful and inspiring leaders from around the world. I’ve been witness to, and learned from, many styles of leadership. Through it all, I believe that the most important lesson I’ve learned is that buried within each of us is a leader. Within each of us lies a deep reservoir of untapped potential. That’s what we are trying to unlock through the Leadership Brand—the potential of employees to become the very best version of themselves, and to reach out and empower others to do the same.
David Daines is the Vice President of Global Human Resources at Nu Skin.