About the book  


Identity Is Destiny provides dramatic, real-world testimony to the enormous power contained in the unique characteristics of organizations and individuals—the power to change, to grow and to prosper. The book is built upon eight natural laws that govern the success of companies and people alike—the Laws of Identity, and The Identity Credo they form:


>


Laws of Identity and their leadership implications

 

The Identity Credo



Laws of Identity

I The Law of Being
"I am alive"
  Any organization composed of one or more human beings is alive in its own right, exhibiting distinct physical, mental and emotional capacities that derive from, but transcend, the individuals who make up that organization over time.

Leadership implication—Stewardship produces long-term value.

Managers must serve the institution—the "corporate being"—rather than the reverse. They must liberate its identity, bringing to bear all available resources (financial, technological, human, intellectual) to support it so that the institution's value-creating potential can be realized. Leadership isn't about personal power and gain—it is about stewarding the institution forward.

This chapter tells the story of Alcoa.
Back to the Identity Credo



II The Law of Individuality
"I am unique"
  An organization's human capacities invariably fuse into a discernable identity that makes that organization unique.

Leadership implication—Differentiation is innate.

On the strength of identity, true and sustainable differentiation can be achieved. The imperative for leaders is to commit to finding out. Dig down; get to know the institution as the individual it is. Ask people—employees, customers, suppliers—their views about how your company creates proprietary value, for them and with them. When addressing the issue "What business are we in?," remember that identity is the key without which this question can never be fully answered.

This chapter tells the story of Fidelity Investments.
Back to the Identity Credo



III The Law of Constancy
"and I am immutable, even as I grow and evolve"
  Identity is fixed, transcending time and place, while its manifestations are constantly changing.

Leadership Implication—Stay the "identity course."

Change or transformation initiatives must be wholly in sync with the identity of the organization if they are going to work. The challenge is to use outside forces—economic, competitive, technological, societal—as stimuli to spark new ways of interpreting identity, rather than as seeming reasons to change it.

This chapter tells the story of Korn/Ferry International.

Back to the Identity Credo



IV The Law of Will
"To truly live, however, I must express myself fully"
  Every organization is compelled by the need to create value in accordance with its own identity.

Leadership Implication—Let identity guide direction.

Managers responsible for setting the direction of an enterprise must recognize its deep-seated need to create value on its own terms. The company must express itself fully. The upshot? Identity precedes strategy. The reverse is impossible. If the company's direction is to have staying power—call it vision, mission, strategy or purpose—leaders must ensure it flows from identity.

This chapter tells the story of The Upjohn Company.
Back to the Identity Credo



V The Law of Possibility
"and in this regard, I have much to give"
  Identity foreshadows potential.

Leadership Implication—Pursue "natural" growth.

The richest avenues with the greatest potential for growth lie in understanding the natural drive of the enterprise. The first place leaders that should look for growth, while keeping economic requirements in mind, is the identity of the corporate being who strives to self-actualize—to be the most it can be.

This chapter tells the story of Westinghouse through its Advanced Industrial Systems Division.
Back to the Identity Credo



VI The Law of Relationship
"But to do so, I need others, and am most productive with those who need me in return."
  Organizations are inherently relational, and those relationships are only as strong as the natural alignment between the identities of the participants.

Leadership Implication—Value-based relationships lead to strategic advantage.

Leaders must see that their companies' relationships with stakeholders are best managed as a system driven by economic interdependence, rather than as a portfolio of groups with diverse interests. Employees create value, customers purchase value, investors finance value. Aligning the interests of these and other critical stakeholders, in the name of value creation, is all that counts.

This chapter tells the story of New York State Electric and Gas.
Back to the Identity Credo



VII The Law of Comprehension
"To establish these relationships, I must first be recognized for who I am"
  The individual capacities of the organization are only as valuable as the perceived value of the whole of that organization.

Leadership Implication—Anonymity doesn't pay.

The enterprise must be known for who it is if it is going to build productive, long-term relationships with others. Managers must make sure that their organization's unique capacity to create value is well understood—inside and outside. This chapter tells the story of Interbrew.
Back to the Identity Credo



VIII The Law of the Cycle
"and it follows then that I will receive in accordance with what I give"
  Identity governs value, which produces wealth, which fuels identity.

Leadership Implication—Identity organizes business life.

Organizations will receive wealth in proportion to the value they create—not only for customers, but for society. The leadership mandate is to not put profit before contribution. The leader who does so risks eroding the identity that is responsible for both. For managers, the bottom line is this: Crack the code on identity and you will understand how your organization really makes money.

This chapter tells the story of Maytag Corporation.
Back to the Identity Credo


I am alive, I am unique, and I am immutable, even as I grow and evolve. and I am immutable, even as I grow and evolve. To truly live, however, I must express myself fully, To truly live, however, I must express myself fully, and in this regard, I have much to give. But to do so, I need others, and am most productive with those who need me in return. To establish these relationships, I must first be recognized for who I am, and it follows then that I will receive in accordance with what I give. and it follows then that I will receive in accordance with what I give.