career advice, career management, Careers, leadership, personal brand management, Personal Branding

Celebrate Your Strengths: Strengthen Your Personal Brand

Mary Rosenbaum | September 27th, 2011

The lazy hazy crazy days of summer seem long ago. It’s the end of September and if you are at all like me work seems to cross your desk faster than leaves falling from trees. This is as good a time as any to remember that controlling your career should still be in the top 2 or 3 of your list of priorities. Taking control doesn’t mean revolutionary change. On the contrary, it can be checking in with your goals and making sure you are still on target or evaluating which road to take or to pursue at this time in your career. It means building on your personal brand with direction and purpose, adding to the value you provide and the fulfillment you derive from the work you do.

In a recent meeting with a client we began strategizing for his next role within his organization. Already playing a part in his company’s management, he wanted to find new ways he could take on an even more senior role.

The first steps he wanted to take were to tackle his weaknesses and find ways in which he could eliminate them. I have always worked from the premise that building on your strengths yields a much better result than trying to strengthen a weakness. What got you to where you are today are your strengths and growing them in areas that complement what you are already great at will be much more rewarding, professionally and personally, than becoming just OK in areas where you are weak. This methodology strengthens and broadens your personal brand.

Obviously if your weaknesses are serious enough to prevent you from achieving your goals then they should addressed. Either the goals are inappropriate given your capabilities or perhaps there is some way to increase your knowledge or skill in this area that would build on an already existing strength.

This made me think of what a blue print might look like for someone interested in managing his/her career and growing your personal brand. Here’s my take on it.

Set Clearly Defined Goals

Once you know what you want to achieve you can then figure out what you need to do to get there. What is it you want to do and where do you want to do it? Be as specific and as realistic as possible.

Determine Your Value

In addition to accomplishing the “responsibilities of the job” there are many other acts you perform that enable your group, your department, and your organization to be successful. For example, a client of mine who managed a virtual team learned through his 360 assessment that his team thought of him as instrumental in making them successful by keeping them on target, focused, and modeling the type of collaboration that enabled them to do their best work. Clearly this illustrates great leadership capability that would be high on the list of someone looking to take on greater leadership challenges.

So consider these questions:

– What value do you currently provide to your organization in the work you do?

– What accomplishments are you most proud of?

– What types of people do you work with that bring out the best in you and where you bring out the best in them?

– Which roles have you enjoyed most?

– What challenges do you enjoy taking on and where you are the most successful?

Evaluate Your Skills

This is where the “responsibilities of the job” come into play. There are many skills you have developed throughout your career. This is a great time to list the skills you want to continue developing and understand which ones you are happy to have in a back drawer, able to pull them out whenever you need them.

Find Out What’s Missing

Now that you know what you want to do, where you want to go, and what you have to offer, this would be a good time to determine what you need to get there. Areas to consider might include:

– What strengths do you want to build on?

– What experiences would enhance your skills?

– Who do you know that can help you or introduce you to someone who can help you achieve your goals?

– What intermediate steps do you need to take to get to where you want to go?

The foregoing is just a structure but it is one that can be applied to everyone no matter where you are in your career. Just out of school, middle or senior management, taking control and managing your career on a regular basis are an integral part of achieving your goals. So celebrate your strengths and strengthen your personal brand!

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years, Mary Rosenbaum empowers careerists and entrepreneurs to gain greater clarity and more effectively communicate their unique promise of value. Strong leadership means leading with your strengths. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Follow me on Twitter @Careersguru