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ATD Blog

Working for a Strong Brand


Wed Oct 12 2005


I have noticed a pattern that I would like to share, even though it is somewhat tangential to the theme of this blog. I just saw it again yesterday.

There are "Strong Brand" organizations: Microsoft, Google, Harvard University, IBM, Accenture. Even actors in a high-profile television series.


New employees are excited to get in. The parents are thrilled. Friends are jealous.

The new employees struggle, learn the culture, learn the rules, gain a lot of interesting perspectives and SOPs. Their prestige in the outside world climbs as a result of their new home.

To the outside world, these people have it made. They are part of a superb organization. They have access to resources. But to the no-longer new employee, they start getting restless. At some point, they realize that they are supporting the brand, not necessarily helping themselves. Their own professional identity risks becoming too associated with the Strong Brand. They do not have as much control as they would like. To some degree, the view of outsiders towards them becomes increasingly at odds with the internal organization's.

Unless they are fast-tracked, they grow resentful, ultimately either leaving, or sticking around but detached.

I don't know what the solution is. But everyone I know who is in that cycle feels unique, so I thought I would share this.


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