My old boss, Tom Peters, had a great quip about leadership and branding. He said, be distinct or be extinct. He makes a great point. If there is nothing distinctive about what you do, about the results you achieve and how you help your organization perform, then at some point you will be extinct. As Tom used to say, “you’re toast.”
There is a very strong and compelling case to be made about why brands are among the most strategic assets of an organization. Brands and reputations have tangible, financial value. Leaders have a brand also and they must be cultivated purposefully. Why? Because what a leader stands for and the value they create is central to their leadership effectiveness.
What is your leadership brand?
To answer this question I ask my clients the following: what are you known for? Do you have a distinctive brand or reputation? If in the face of business models becoming obsolete, do you have the distinction to survive the corporate chopping block? Or, even better, do you have what it takes to quickly land an even better opportunity if your current work were to be eliminated? If not, developing a personal brand is a high stakes proposition for you.
Leaders who achieve above average performance have defined what I call their default, desired and designed brands. They have learned how to think in personal branding terms, and have specifically answered the following five essential questions.
1. What do people think I stand for?
2. What do I want to be known for?
3. What value am I creating for my organization?
4. Do the people who matter most to me see me in the way I want to be seen?
5. What’s the best way for me to communicate my brand to my key constituents?
Monday Morning Minute Challenge:
Take 15 minutes to answer the above questions with a targeted emphasis on what you want to be known for. Once you have the traits and characteristics listed ask yourself this hard question: are the traits and characteristics I listed distinctive or simply the price of entry for being in my job? If for example you listed reliable and dependable. These traits are the price of entry in the world of work.
If you are really interested in whether your descriptors are distinctive, share them with someone you respect and ask them for their perspective. If you can, share them with your boss and see what they say.
If you do this weeks challenge you will take a giant step forward to becoming more effective.