On leadership.

Perhaps you’ve just started a small business. Or maybe you work for an established and reputable corporation. How can you promote your company? How can you convey that you provide services and/or goods that outshine all of your competitors?

Lying is the obvious answer, but let’s pretend you’re ethical.

The easiest way is to reduce your company’s mission statement into an industry that is both narrowly defined yet important sounding. Then you can tell the world you are a leader in this industry, because when what you do is so obscure and out of touch, you can be a leader even if you have no one following you at all. It works for the President, and it can work for you.

Let’s fire up Google and see who’s the leader in what. First, we have leaders in industries that make a modicum of sense.

“Kapow Technologies is a leader in Web Integration.”

“Wizetrade is a leader in teaching individual investors to trade.”

“Thompson Associates is a leader in retail market analytics.”

“Studio 6 is a leader in economy extended stay lodging.”

“eInstruction Corporation is a leader in the educational technology industry.”

Are they actually the leaders in their respective fields? Or are they lying bastards?

It doesn’t matter!

Because when you say you are a leader, instead of the leader, you don’t have to quantitatively measure higher than your competitors at all. You all exist in a business arena where everybody’s a winner. Just like the Special Olympics!

But if you’ve got the balls, or just plain live without shame, go ahead and state that you are THE leader of your trade:

“Smith System is the leader in Professional Driver Training.”

“Pass-Guaranteed is the leader in IT Certifications.”

“Anonymizer is the leader in anonymous web surfing solutions.”

If you’ve got the chutzpah to help perverts secretly and safely view pornography web sites, then you’ve got the moxie needed to lead!

But my main point is you won’t have to make quantitative measurements or be a lying bastard if you simply overcomplicate and narrow what you do:

“Clopay Plastic Products Company is a leader in the development and production of embossed barrier and breathable plastic films for the healthcare and hygienic markets.”

I mean, who else is in that industry? When I say, “embossed barrier and breathable plastic films production”, who else do you think of? IBM?

Real leaders have important names. Sometimes the name is so important it has to be entirely in capital letters. Not knowing if it’s an acronym or just a capitalized version of your name adds to your leadership mystique:

“VIDAR Systems Corporation is a leader in medical imaging.”

“PMEL is a leader in developing ocean observational systems.”

“XOMA is a leader in the discovery, development and manufacture of therapeutic antibodies.”

“ICES is a leader in Experimental Economics.”

“SGI is a leader in high-performance computing.”

It also helps if many of your products are capitalized too:

“TEAC is a leader in DVD┬▒Recorders, CD-RW, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, hard disc, floppy disk, and USB flash drives for desktop and notebook PCs.”

Don’t get carried away with it though:

“O’DONNELL FUELS IS A LEADER IN THE MODEL FUEL INDUSTRY!”

Sometimes your company’s name makes you the obvious leader of your industry:

“Indiagames is the leader in wireless games in India.”

“Carrier Vibrating Equipment is a leader in vibratory process solutions.”

I don’t even have to go into what “vibrating equipment” for “vibratory solutions” entails. From the name, it’s obvious!

Another strategy is instead of narrowing what your industry is, go ahead and declare that you are the leader of every industry known to civilization. You’ve got be the leader in at least one of those!

“KRM Information Services is a leader in the management and delivery of live interactive telephone and web-based briefings, seminars, events, distance learning and training exercises.”

“Alcatel Space is a leader in all civil and military applications, telecommunications, navigation, optical and radar observation, meteorology, sciences, space robotics, launch operations and ground control.”

Of course, if your company is a monolithic giant whose annual revenue rivals various European countries’ GDP, you can authentically claim that you are, in fact, the leader of every industry known to civilization. Just be sure to repeat it often enough so that everyone knows:

“IBM is a leader in the IT industry.”
“IBM is a leader in integration.”
“IBM is a leader in the server market.”
“IBM is a leader in Information Quality Software.”
“IBM is a leader in the collaboration platforms market.”
“IBM is a leader in the global and Indian IT space.”
“IBM is a leader in helping businesses and organizations innovate.”
“IBM is a leader in developing strong and innovative programs to develop women in the technical workplace.”

Hmm. Maybe IBM actually is a leader in embossed barrier and breathable plastic films production.

Maybe you are in your company’s marketing, publicity, or hobo division and you don’t have a clue what your company does. In this case, it’s a safe bet to say you provide solutions:

“Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer world.”

“Rescan Environmental Services Ltd. is a leader in providing environmental and. engineering solutions to the resource industry.”

“Envox is a leading provider of voice solutions.”

I remember my grandfather would tell me how when he was my age, he had to get up at sunrise to go down to the ol’ solutions factory and crank out solutions for sixteen hours until his eyes bled from the solution fumes.

Other times it may be prudent to hold off on saying what industry you are a leader in. Just keep talking about who your company is, optionally including a corporate genealogical tree:

“LexisNexis Butterworths, a division of Reed Elsevier Plc, the global publishing company, is a leader in legal and professional publishing of books.”

Or conversely, drone on and on about the industry that you are leading using prepositional phrase after prepositional phrase:

“Praxair is a leader in the development and refinement of the application of industrial gases to pulp and paper production processes.”

With any luck, the reader will fall asleep before coming to your outlandish leadership claim.

If you work for a company that was founded by science geeks on the nerd-patrol, you can ignore all this advice, and just honestly state what your company does:

“Rhodia Organics is a leader in aromas (flavors & fragrances), diphenols and fluorinated derivatives, agrochemical intermediates, dyes & pigments.”

And nobody will know what you’re the leader of!

You can also be honest if your area of expertise is lobe-dampeningly mundane:

“Arlington County, Virginia is a leader in using innovative technologies and practices to improve pedestrian safety.”

And nobody will care what you’re the leader of!

I hope this article has shown how, through the judicious use of confusion, arrogance, market-speak, and bastardtry, you too can become the leader of your self-important industry!

This blog article was written by CoffeeGhost, the leader in Internet-smarminess and legal disclaimers. The quotes above were simple cut-and-paste jobs from search engine results, sometimes edited for brevity, and may not have been made from the respective companies themselves. I do not, for all I know, work for the above-mentioned companies or their competitors.

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