In your current organization, right now, you already have a brand.
Do you know what it is? Really??
I vividly remember the day I was shocked to learn that I had a brand. And one that I didn’t even choose!
I was talking with a colleague and somewhere in the middle of our conversation, he said, “Chris, you are so INCREDIBLY focused!”
He said it with such emphasis that it made me take a step back.
I did not think of myself as being any more focused than the other professionals around me. To the contrary, I often joked that I have a dual processor in my head because I always seemed to be thinking about two things at once.
So I asked, “Really?”
“Are you kidding?!! You are so laser focused you could burn holes through walls!” was his response.
Wow. Not the brand I would have chosen. Truth be told, I did not even know what a brand was at that time, nor had I ever given any thought to having one.
Now I know better.
A brand is a set of public artifacts that reveal who you are, how you serve, and what people can expect from you in terms of image, value, and service (Brendon Burchard)
It is important to know that a brand is not only what you want it to be, but it’s also derived from how people experience you and what they expect from you. So, you have a brand right now, whether you know it or not, and even more concerning, whether you like it or not.
Isn’t it a good idea for you to take control and intentionally develop and live a brand that sends the right message about who you are and what people can expect of you?
Isn’t that better than letting others define you?
Benefits of Developing Your Leadership Brand
Just going through the process of developing your Leadership Brand has big pay-offs. Of course, there is much more work to do later, when you live and manage your brand ongoing, but you will see immediate rewards from the first step which is developing your Leadership Brand.
By working to develop your brand, you become crystal clear about the leader you are and the leader you want to become.
You are unique. You have a special combination of skills, talents, and perspectives that no one else does.
Developing your Leadership Brand helps you understand your “unique you” by clarifying your values, strengths, purpose and mission. It also helps you to understand how your life experiences have given you perspectives and approaches that differ from others.
The process of developing your Leadership Brand also gives you the opportunity to choose your “future you” – the leader you aspire to be.
Knowing the leader you want to become, you can identify the gaps you need to close to get there. You will be able to create a more meaningful and successful roadmap for your professional development.
Even if you stop right here in the process, you have already made some big wins!
Deep clarity about your leadership does wonders for increasing your confidence and improving your executive presence. Clarity gives you the confidence to effectively deal with new challenges and tough decisions more easily because you will be able to come at them from the solid footing of knowing the leader you are and what is truly important to you and your stakeholders.
Speaking of stakeholders, we cannot forget that a necessary component of your Leadership Brand is your stakeholders. What do they need/expect from your role generally and you specifically? What is important to them? What value can you provide?
In the development of your Leadership Brand, you will become crystal clear about the needs and expectations of your stakeholders and the value you can provide them. You will be able to prioritize better and focus on delivering the things that really matter.
Again, a big confidence booster! Feels like a nice, big, satisfying sigh of relief when you know for sure that you are doing the right things, the things that matter the most.
I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific (Lily Tomlin)
In retrospect, I guess I was indeed pretty focused at the time I had that conversation with my colleague. Being a New Products Project Manager for a couple years, I had to be. And being known for keen focus continued to serve me well as a Materials Manager.
But being known for focus was not enough for me to be successful at higher levels. I knew I needed to evolve and grow my Leadership Brand if I wanted to continue to advance my career. So I put some deep thought into my brand and followed it up with the right actions and behaviors to reinforce my new and improved brand.
Fortunately, it worked out pretty well. Thanks Greg.
How about you? Is it time for you to reassess your Leadership Brand?