Have you ever been asked any of these questions?
What you are famous for? What are your best qualities and how do they relate to your role? How would your co-workers describe you?
These questions are open-ended and designed to make you think about yourself from another person’s perspective of your ability to work as part of a team, to fit in with the company culture and develop a professional network. The way in which you relate to your colleagues determines their view of your Executive Presence – your ability to influence, engage and inspire others to act.
This short article explores how to enhance your personal brand by considering what you can emulate from the world’s most trusted brands which describe themselves the ‘world’s largest travel platform’, ‘world leader in beauty’; and ‘the world’s most versatile action camera’
In 2019 Trip Advisor, L’Oréal and GoPro were three of the Top 20 of the World’s Most Trusted Brands. They achieved that ranking by developing and nurturing consumer trust. Despite operating in vastly different markets they have some common characteristics:
· a strong presence in the market
· it is clear what they stand for
· a strong connection with consumers
· listening to what consumers say so that they can understand and address their wants and needs
· monitoring how they are perceived.
The same criteria can be applied to your personal brand.
Visibility– Selection processes are based on both your achievements and your references. Your reputation carries considerable weight as good performance is not necessarily a predictor of future success. Your reputation is based on your network’s perception of your character and past behaviour. Many of my sensitive high achieving clients shy away from the notion of networks as they perceive networking to be disingenuous. Whereas sincere networking is simply building a network of trusted contacts. To further your career, you need a network which includes a sponsor, at least one advocate, a mentor and ideally a coach. Although the roles of sponsor and advocate are not mutually exclusive two voices are better than one. In addition, the role of your mentor needs to be clear. Are you expecting this individual to develop your skills and/or make proper introductions for you.
Tip: Map your network to discover your sphere of influence and to highlight the influencers. In your organisation.
Your ‘Promise’ – A brand promise is the overlap between what a company does best and what customers want. In this case your Executive Presence is the overlap between the business imperative, what others need and how ‘your best’ is experienced by others.
Tip: Assess what are your promising others and how well are you seen to be doing in delivering on that promise?
Values: In general, people like to associate themselves with ‘good’ people. In the business world, we have seen a trend towards consumers preferring to be associated with companies known for their morality, high ethical standards, and compelling brand values. Translating this into your Personal Brand it raises the following questions: What do you stand for? What do others believe you stand for?
Tip: If you are in any doubt consider past conversations, look at performance reviews and find out whether the comments are still relevant and important. By reading through work emails and instant messages and spending time reflecting with your closest colleagues and clients you will find out how you stand out in the workplace. Pay attention to compliments, praise, and criticisms.
In conclusion, feedback is one of the best ways to understand how others describe you. Reviews and feedback from Direct reports, Peers and your Manager feedback give a well-rounded description of you in the workplace and which behaviours enhance or detract from your Executive Presence.