Personal Leadership 101: Create a Personal Brand That Stands Out
“Brand yourself for the career you want, not the job you have.”
Famed management guru and author of the best-selling book, In Search of Excellence, Tom Peters, first tackled this subject in 1997 for an article in Fast Company magazine titled, TheBrand Called You, he wrote,
"Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us, need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEO's of our own companies; Me INC. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called you. You're every bit a brand as Nike, Pepsi or the Body Shop. To start thinking like your own favorite brand manager, ask yourself the same question the brand manager at Nike, Pepsi or the Body Shop ask themselves; What is it that my product or service does that make it different?"
Business branding is about getting customers to see an organization as “the” one that can provide unique solutions to problems within its industry or field. It is similar with personal branding. Jay Abraham, Marketing Guru stated, "The people above you (bosses, management and organization leaders) want one thing most of all - they want solutions to problems. They want you to be a problem solver because a good idea is a good idea regardless of where it comes from."
The key to establishing a personal brand that stands out is to be someone who provide solutions to the challenges faced by others. You want to build a reputation for being someone that others perceive as a "go-to" and "make it happen" person. Just like companies, your contributions that lead to relevant solutions to the challenges faced by others increases your personal and professional value in their minds and hearts.
The following leadership traits contribute to creating a personal brand that stands out:
1). Your Character Counts - Aristotle stated, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." What do the words that you speak and the actions that you take speak about your personal standard? Your personal standard of excellence has little to do with what others are or are not doing, and more to do with you taking responsibility for how you respond to people and circumstances in your life.
The manner in which you respond to defeat or loss and great success demonstrates more about your character then what you or anyone else says about your character. Action speaks louder than words. What you "do" communicates so much more to people then what you say. Your personal standard of excellence is completely controlled by you. It is in your best interest to engage people and environments in a manner that strengthens your reputation as a person who habitually demonstrates excellence in your spoken word and deeds.
2). Talent is Not Enough - Calvin Coolidge stated, "Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent." You can have the talent and IQ of a genius, but if you are not able to remain committed to following through with actions that result in specific outcomes towards goals and objectives, you will waste your time and talent wavering back and forth from one project to the next. You have to display a fortitude to stay on task towards the achievement of your organization’s goals and objectives. The stronger your desire to achieve the goal or objective, the less likely you will allow challenges or roadblocks hinder your daily diligence towards creating the progress necessary to achieve success. You will acknowledge your challenges and roadblocks, but you will not allow them to deny you the level of achievement you know you're capable of accomplishing.
3). Think Win-Win - William James stated, "Whenever you're in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude." The reality of the modern workplace is that you have to interact with a diversity of people. It’s important for you to expand your emotional and social intelligence skills to work effectively with them.
Author, Daniel Goleman states, "Emotional Intelligence is the largest single predictor of success in the workplace." He believes that it is largely a learned area of expertise. This means that you and your co-workers can develop effective skills to manage workplace conflict, clear up misunderstandings and improve your day to day interactions with one another. Developing your emotional and social intelligence skills equip you to create win-win solutions. Author, Stephen Covey stated, "win-win agreements incorporate a third alternative to solutions-it's not just your way or my way but a better way that we create together."
4). Create Raving Fans - Ken Blanchard wrote in his best-selling book, Raving Fans, "Having raving fans means that you have achieved the kind of service excellence that turns a customer into a lifetime customer. A raving fan is an advocate of your products or service in the marketplace." To create raving fans of your personal brand, you have to commit to providing legendary service to your internal and external customers within any organization in which you have influence. Take into consideration every contact you have with others and how each moment is an opportunity for them to form an impression of you. Your attitude plays a crucial role in creating raving fans because it influences the approach you take in every situation that you encounter. When you establish a consistent standard of service excellence that favorably impresses others, you are establishing a work related reputation that will gain the support of others in your pursuit of growth and development career opportunities.
5). Set Others Up for Success - People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. You are creating lasting "impressions" on the minds and hearts of individuals within your sphere of influence on a daily basis. Building a personal brand that stands out requires that you contribute your time and effort towards making a difference in the lives of others. The most powerful way to create an impression on the hearts and minds of others that cannot be erased is to help them succeed at the achievement of their goals and/or objectives.
When others in your organization come to you seeking solutions to the challenges they face, begin to approach these moments with the attitude that they are opportunities for you to establish yourself as a "go-to" person within the workplace. Becoming a person who is perceived as someone “in the know” helps to build a professional reputation as someone who can make “it” happen.
Your personal brand is a reflection of the quality of service you are contributing to your organization and within your industry. As you contribute your knowledge, skills and ideas to the success of your organization, you are increasing your overall value to the organization and to those you serve within your circle of influence. Your efforts to establish a personal brand that stands out by serving and supporting others will write a favorable impression on the hearts and minds of others.
I’d like to know what steps you’ve taken to establish your personal brand in the workplace. Share your comments below.
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Until next time…
P.S. My latest book, How I Went From Minimum Wage to Managing a Million Dollar Business, is available on Kindle. You can get the first chapter here.