Interview with Lesley Everett
11th January 2016 | Lesley Everett
Following the success of our new title, Corporate Brand Personality, the team at Kogan Page took the chance to ask author, Lesley Everett some questions about what inspired her to write Corporate Brand Personality, some of the best advice she’d received and some of the research that went into her third book.
What are you reading right now?
I love to read to relax and crime novels are my favourite. Right now I’m reading …… For business The Art of Leadership by Cheryl Cran and The Restless executive by Jo Simpson.
What inspired you to write Corporate Brand Personality?
My first book was called Walking TALL and was focussed around building a personal brand and great image for individuals. This now provides a good reference guide. However, the work we have been doing in recent years with organizations around the whole culture change, employee brand and behaviours and the keynote presentations I’m asked to deliver has highlighted the risk to businesses today in not aligning people and behaviours to corporate brand messaging. I have felt this book has been needed for some time and even though there is never enough time to write a book, these past 2 years have more than ever highlighted that I have to write it due to the steady decline in my view of corporate manners and great customer experience.
Briefly, what led up to this book? What were you writing before Corporate Brand Personality?
In addition to the above, I really have felt the need for businesses to wake up to the reality that they are consistently diluting their brand and investment in the brand by not focussing on how their people represent the brand. We have been working with businesses in the respect for several years and there it appeared there was little written on the subject yet it’s becoming more and more important.
I already have 2 books – Walking TALL and Drop Dead Brilliant published a few years ago. I have written over 200 articles for print and on-line media globally and this has been my main focus for writing until Corporate Brand Personality.
Where do you write from? (Where do you live?)
I live in Pacific Grove California and mainly wrote the book from our local coffee shop and bookstore. It provided the gentle buzz of everyday life in the background which is what I need for writing!
What kind of research did you do for the book?
My research was mainly derived from case studies of organizations we have worked with, coaching clients and interviews with key people from global organizations.
When did you start Walking TALL (the organisation and the philosophy) and why?
Walking TALL as a company was started in 2004 and re-branded from its former name. This was a result of the Walking TALL book becoming successful and it was obvious that the name could work as a brand too.
What does authentic leadership look like?
In my view, it’s about being clear about your personal brand and what you truly stand for, building trusted relationships with your team and with external stakeholders and being consistent with your brand behaviours such that you can take people with you more effectively.
What are the three best pieces of advice that you were given in your career?
Use this role as a stepping stone to the next one, build your network with positive and successful people and if you believe you can do it, just do it
If you didn’t write about business leadership, what would your ‘fantasy’ book be about?
I would love to write a Crime Novel!
Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?
I’ve done 2 parachute jumps. I met and chatted to Madonna and my favourite place in the world to be in (apart from my home in Pacific Grove, California) is the African bush
You’ve had lots of great reviews already! Were any of these a particular surprise?
When you have been immersed in and worked so hard on any project it’s always wonderful to step back and see great reviews. It makes you realise that it was all worthwhile and that others can gain practical insight from it. So I guess they are all a surprise in that respect!