Why go through all this effort to start a personal brand and label myself as a mythical creature? This is a bit of a long story. If you have seen me in person, my hair style is in a point in the front, and my kids call this my “unihorn”. I went with it and said, that is right, I am a magical creature. Hey with teenagers, if they think you are magical as a Dad, you have to run with it. It has been a running family label for many years.
Recently as I have been meeting more folks in my career, many referred to me as a Unicorn, but it wasn’t in reference to my hair this time. It was my understanding of business and my determination to use technology to deliver real digital transformation. After now being called this in a business setting I began to realize there is something here bigger than just a family nick name.
So what does it mean to be unicorn? How about we define what a unicorn is?
1a: a mythical, usually white animal generally depicted with the body and head of a horse with long flowing mane and tail and a single often spiraled horn in the middle of the forehead b: an animal mentioned in the Bible that is usually considered an aurochs, a one-horned rhinoceros, or an antelope
2: something unusual, rare, or unique.There’s the elusive unicorn: headphones that do everything well and work in any situation.— Damon DarlinIn Washington, D.C., truth is now a veritable unicorn.— Marilyn M. Singleton… he’s like baseball’s version of a unicorn—a true two-way player.— Tony Paul
3business: a start-up that is valued at one billion dollars or more… a tech unicorn in Michigan is even more of a rarity, far from Silicon Valley’s investor echo chamber.— Scott Martin
So as I reflected on these, I thought I love them all. 1. Unicorns are a symbol of good and being magical is pretty cool. 2. Most appropriately being something rare and unique has been a hallmark of my career. I don’t want to be just another resource, another leader, another ____________, I always want to be different and pure. 3. Heck if I turn this into a brand that has a value of one billion dollars, I’m all in. Click the donate button below…just kidding. Wait for only $299 you can watch my series on how to be a unicorn…okay no, well not yet.
So let’s focus in on number 2. I have long challenged anyone I have mentored, to always be true to yourself. Know your true north, what you stand for and never waiver. Not for a job, an colleague, friends, not for anything. Hopefully your true north is something altruistic or meaningful. For me, I want to make a difference and deliver more value than most. I want people to stand back and say “Michael gets it done, he never waivered”. That alone doesn’t make you a unicorn but it is a great horse to start with. How do you earn your horn you ask? Well it is a blend and different for each of us. For me, it is my uncompromising focus on the customer, their problem and delivering a solution, enabled by technology that makes a difference. That blend is unique in the world today. Many of us “implement”, “manage”, “lead”, “do our job” – but do you “inspire”, “motivate”, “make a difference”?
This series of articles on Unicornism will focus here….leadership, fierce loyalty to the team you lead, without who you are at best a goat for sure not a unicorn. It will blend tech but really highlight how to listen to the customer and more importantly pause until you understand the problem….no stop….listen….collaborate….listen again….then partner. It will highlight the power of relationships and why they drive your success.
So stay tuned lots more to come, we are just getting started. I humbly appreciate your feedback and input. This can go many directions based on your input.