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Personal Branding Boot Camp – February 4, 2012

Mary Rosenbaum | December 12th, 2011

Make 2012 the year you take control of your career or business!

Whether you know it or not, you already have a personal brand. But is it the brand or reputation you want or need to get ahead in your career or business?

Working on your career is as important as doing a great job at work. It is easy to get caught up with deadlines, projects, and the everyday world of family and friends. When did you last take the time to evaluate where you are going in your career? And even more importantly, do you have a clear understanding or awareness of where you are now, what makes you unique, how others view you, and how you want others to view you?

Give yourself the best gift possible for the New Year – an opportunity to take a step back so you can take an important step forward!

The goal of this workshop is to enable you to:

-       leverage your strengths

-       be more memorable

-       enjoy greater visibility

-       have greater self-confidence

-       deliver on your brand promise authentically

-       increase your self-awareness

-       stand out from the crowd

-       enjoy greater job/career fulfillment

Workshop details

The February 4 all day workshop is limited to a small group to facilitate learning and participation. Through individual and small group exercises, you will:

-       define your goals and construct an action plan to help you achieve them

-       understand your values, how they affect what you do, and how you do it

-       learn to inject your passions into your world of work

-       define how your skills, talents, and abilities differentiate you from the competition

-       identify your target audience and determine ways to reach them

-       clearly articulate how you want to be known

-       work on defining and building your personal brand

Fee Includes

  1. An interactive all day workshop including individual and group work exercises led by Mary Rosenbaum.
  2. A workbook you can continue using and modifying after the workshop is over.
  3. A 360Assessment (cost of $150.00 included in fee).*
  4. Of course, breakfast and lunch.

*See below for a detailed description of the 360Assessment

SIGN UP NOW

Feedback from former workshop participants

What they found valuable How did they change?
“Understanding my differentiator, what’s valuable and how to speak to it.”

“Stating my goals – that I can do it!”

“Personal branding and how it can help or hinder you in achieving your goals.”

“The 360 Assessment made me aware of how I come off to others.”

“The 360 let me see how others view me. It felt great.” (the 360 assessment was mentioned consistently in the reviews as a positive eye-opener)

“The section that asks you to do an action plan-forces you to review everything and decide what is most important to you.”

“Action planning around 360 feedback.”

“Understanding your differentiation-helps structure your brand.”

“Defining values and passions.”

“Personal stories and how they were inspired.”

“More aware of the impact I have on people.”

“More aware of what I project and how I have control.”

“Clarified what actions I need to take to achieve my goals.”

“Understanding the strengths I need to enhance.”

“More self-aware.”

“Be more confident and trust my instincts.”

“I have even more confidence that I am doing a great job and that people recognize it.”

“Being more aware of how I come off and continuing to build my brand.”

“A heightened sense of self-awareness.”

“Re-igniting my passions (I had lost sight of).”

“Living my values.”

“Identifying the strengths I need to amp up or shine a spotlight on and bring my passion more into my work life.”

READY TO TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR CAREER?

SIGN UP NOW

Who is this for?

-       professionals inside organizations and entrepreneurs who want to improve the way they communicate and articulate their unique value added

-       client facing professionals who need to differentiate themselves from their competitors

-       professionals who need to better align their reputation with their professional goals both inside and outside their organization

More About the 360 Assessment:

Integral to the program is the 360 Reach Assessment, the first and leading web-based personal brand assessment that will help you get the real story of how you are perceived by those around you. It provides the critical feedback you need to expand your success and continue thriving in a competitive business environment.  The first phase, the self-assessment and the raters assessment, will be assigned as pre-work before the workshop so that each of you will have your complete report with you when we meet as a group.

The assessment focuses 99% on the positive, on your strengths and abilities, as the personal branding process is all about highlighting those attributes and qualities that help you stand out. It takes the raters you select (friends, family, colleagues, managers, clients) only 10-15 minutes to complete this on-line assessment.

This assessment has already been taken by more than 700,000 people worldwide and the reviews are outstanding. The personal branding process cannot be completed without an understanding of how others view you. Why? Because it’s critical to know if how others view you is equal to how you view yourself.

So Take The First Step to Taking Control of Your Career in 2012

Give Yourself the Gift You Deserve.

SIGN UP NOW


Grow Your Network – Leverage Your Brand

Mary Rosenbaum | November 2nd, 2011

Part of leveraging your personal brand is communicating it to and connecting with people who are in your target audience. After all, you want those people who are in a position to be your brand ambassadors to know about you.

The key is to expand your target audience beyond its current parameters – but in a meaningful way. This is not a numbers game. I am not encouraging you to increase your followers on Twitter, friends on Facebook or contacts on LinkedIn. Instead I am advocating a deepening of those relationships if they merit it and expanding your circle to include others that fit your parameters.

What do I mean by that?  Take a look at your existing network. A good way to do that is to look at your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter contacts and how they aggregate. Are they relationships that can expand your reach into communities that include your target audience? If so, do they have a good understanding of the value your bring to your organization or your clients? Can they be your brand ambassadors? A broadening and deepening of your relationships will ensure that the answer to those questions is yes.

Clients always ask, “how can I expand my network?” If you work inside an organization, don’t make the mistake of just focusing on your managers and co-workers. It’s just as important to communicate and ultimately develop relationships with those outside your organization. When you think about it the people you know and communicate with regularly (those you work with and for) already have a pretty good idea of who you are and the value you provide. It’s those people outside your organization and outside your close friends network that are the ones who can provide you with:

-     new information

-     new ideas

-     new contacts

-     exposure to different opportunities

Here are some ideas for expanding your network.

-     Join an organization – professional or not for profit. Participate in a meaningful way so you can form relationships and allow your personal brand to shine through.

-       Increase your communication with people you see only once or twice a year. If possible, off-line always trumps on-line.

-       Introduce your friends and professional contacts to each other. Be generous with your contacts and they will be eager to reciprocate.

-       Contribute to the success of others. The goodwill that generates from this practice is priceless.

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. Being a strong leader means leading with your strengths. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Follow me on Twitter @Careersguru


Feedback: Is It a Gift or Castor Oil?

Mary Rosenbaum | August 2nd, 2011

How open are you to feedback from those you work with and for, or even from friends and relatives? I know from past experience that praise goes down real easy. Constructive criticism, no matter how couched the wording, goes down like castor oil – it may be good for you but it tastes really bitter and you want to spit it out as quickly as possible.

Yet, how can we learn so we can continue to earn? How we view and judge ourselves is very much like the way we see ourselves in the mirror. The mirror I look at is different than the one that others hold up in front of me. To prove it let me ask you this question:

Have you ever walked down the street and caught your reflection in a store’s plate glass window? Is it the same image you see every morning in your bathroom mirror? I know for a fact it isn’t the same image for me or for most people I know. Seeing yourself with “fresh” eyes can be an enlightening experience.

Obtaining feedback from others is a great way to see yourself with “fresh” eyes. But only if you let yourself really hear what they have to say.

Recently I had an opportunity to provide feedback to my friend Carolyn, a real estate broker. Quite by accident I found out that a neighbor of mine had spoken with Carolyn about renting a house and came away from that conversation with the belief that Carolyn no longer wanted to work on rentals. Of course, this could not be farther from the truth as Carolyn relies on converting rental clients into buyers as well as benefitting from their positive word of mouth advertising. Yet, this recent exchange had just the opposite effect.

I thought this would be a great opportunity for Carolyn to learn from this past exchange how she misrepresented the value she provides clients –  her brand –  and think of different ways to handle this in the future. Instead, Carolyn made this conversation all about how she did everything right and how the client was the one at fault. To further minimize the impact of this feedback, Carolyn ended by saying that this client’s opinions really did not matter. The feedback went down like castor oil – spit out as quickly as possible.

As someone who specializes in helping clients understand, communicate, and leverage their personal brands, I know that one of the main ingredients in the branding process is being clear on the impact you have on others (seeing your reflection in a different mirror). Why? Because in your personal and professional life, your reputation, how you are known, will always precede you.

You are always trying to reach your networks network so you have to know: What are your followers going to say to theirs? What information will Carolyn’s former client be passing along to others? And what impression has Carolyn been conveying to her other clients?

How others view your work and the value you deliver may be different than your own perceptions of how you come across. Here are a few ways to continue to learn so you can earn:

1. Solicit feedback. Ask those around you for ways you could improve upon what you do for or with them. They will feel flattered that you think their opinion is valuable. By having them try to help you get better or clearer on the way you work makes them feel like partners in your success.

2. Be courageous and be humble. Rather than becoming defensive and going into attack mode thank them for their honesty. Let the words sink in. Go back and think about what you heard not from the standpoint of how you felt when you heard them but rather how these words apply to what you know about yourself versus how others see you. Most importantly use these comments to help move you closer to where you want to be.

3. Reciprocate with honest feedback and become a partner in the success of others.

For those of you who have the courage to gain a better understanding of how you impact others and how this affects your career or business, contact me for information on how an online 360 assessment can help you highlight your strengths and define your 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


Make it Acceptable! Let Your Personal Brand Shine Through

Mary Rosenbaum | May 12th, 2011

Do you find yourself trying to fit some mental image you have of who you should be and how you should behave at work? I am not talking about behavior that is not acceptable in the world at large but rather some stereotype you have in your own head. I am talking about situations like being afraid to talk to colleagues about aspects of your life outside of work or avoiding language that make you seem too soft or feminine?

Let’s take the second example. It is common in business to use metaphors based on sports or combat. Target, bull’s eye, winning team, rally the troops, getting to first base, striking out, combat escalating costs, how you play the game, playbook, running interference, smooth sailing, team building, a level playing field, coaching, the war for talent. I know there are a lot more but what I am trying to show is that the use of these words has become normal in everyday business. And my question is, who determines what is normal or acceptable?

We do. The more we use these metaphors and language or the more we repeat behavior the more universally accepted and expected they become.

I attended a breakfast event this morning by the New York Women’s Foundation. It was a wonderful event that celebrated the successes of a variety of organizations and individuals dedicated to improving the current and future lives of girls and women.

One of the speakers, Jennifer Buffet, gave a wonderful talk describing her journey into the world of making a difference. She used words like nurturing, caring, loving, defining, fulfilling. In fact, she mentioned that when she asked others for advice while preparing her speech, she was told to eliminate many of those “soft, feminine, emotional” words in favor of more powerful ones that would “charge up” her listeners so they would reach for their checkbooks.

Rather than project an image in the way others thought she should through her use of language, Ms. Buffet decided to be who she was instead. She has a strong personal brand and it really came through. Her message, her authenticity and her honesty was what made the attendees reach for their checkbooks.

The same holds true for you. Being authentic, whether it’s telling stories at work about your kids or talking about how moved you were by an event you attended or how proud you were when you ran in the marathon, you are setting the terms for what is acceptable and for what can be expected. And being authentic and honest is how you can more easily connect and form relationships that enable you to do the work you do.

So you know the formula, acceptance is based on repetition. The more you allow your personal brand some breathing room and exposure, the more authentic you come across, and the more acceptable your actions and your words.

I would love to hear about some of your past and present SHOULD’s. Have you let your personal brand shine through?

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


The Human Connection: A Win/Win for You and Your Company

Mary Rosenbaum | April 26th, 2011

If you have ever led or been on a team or worked on a project with others then you know how it feels when a group of people work together successfully, mutually supporting each other so that the work gets done. The feeling you get in these situations is a sense of flow, knowing “someone has your back” and that you are all working toward a common goal.

In order for this to happen, there has to be a connection that links you with your co-workers or employees. It could be common values (family, honesty, integrity) or common interests and passions. It could be a shared view of the world. Whatever it is, the relationship between you is deeper and with it comes trust and a sense of reciprocal responsibility for one another.

I co-led a leadership branding workshop for senior professionals a few weeks ago and was asked a question by one of the participants. He asked, “Why is it so important for me to bring my personal life into the office? After all, I do a great job, I have moved up in my company, all without letting most people know what goes on with me outside the office.”

The reality is he did not have to bring his personal life, his passions, interests, or experiences into the office in order to be successful. As a senior member of a management team, bifurcating his life has not negatively affected his career path. Or has it? Has there been any give up by not being open about ALL of who he is? Would other opportunities have presented themselves had he shared his many interests, passions, and vision with others? Would he have benefited from greater collaboration or a more interesting workplace where he didn’t have to sensor himself and where others openly shared with him?

Of course, we’ll never know the answers to these questions. But what I have experienced is that when you bring ALL of who you are into your workplace it is as if you put sticky tape all over your body, inviting others to connect with you on any one of those areas, and inspiring them to do the same in return. And what you get out of it is an opportunity to build closer relationships with those you work with and for, and to make your day better, more interesting, more varied, and more fun.

As a leader is there value to having your team or group be more open about their passions and interests at work? In an article by Polly LaBarre for the Management Innovation eXchange, she interviewed Ivy Ross, a design executive who has worked with major brand companies like Calvin Klein, Swatch, Coach and Mattel.

Faced with consolidating and absorbing large numbers of design professionals onto her team, Ms. Ross wanted to have everyone connect and bond with one another as quickly as possible because she firmly believes that creativity and innovation begin with real connection. She held a meeting and had each person bring in their favorite object. A video was made as each person talked about that object, themselves, and what designing clothing meant to them. The videos were condensed and distributed, providing everyone with a Facebook alternative to getting to know their co-workers on a more personal and individual level. Close connections were made based on the information disclosed, the type of information that you might never learn about by working with someone or that might take years to uncover. This sharing created an environment of trust and cooperation resulting in productive and creative teamwork.

So being ALL you of who you are wherever you are is a win/win for you and your company. To summarize, the benefits of bringing the human side of you, your passions, interests, and vision of the world to work include:

  1. Showing others the many dimensions of who you are.
  2. Allowing others to connect with you on the many different points (sticky tape) you have exposed.
  3. Exemplifying trust and a willingness to open up to others by sharing.
  4. Creating deeper bonds and encouraging collaboration.
  5. Opening the door so others can share as well.
  6. Highlighting your core values, an important connection point on every level.

What makes relationships powerful is the human connection. Without it you end up with a work environment that resembles bleached out cotton – it may do the job it was designed for but can be colorless and lacking an interesting texture.

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


Spread Your Thought Leadership, Spread Your Brand

Mary Rosenbaum | April 12th, 2011

How can you use thought leadership as a way of growing your business, improving your career positioning, or getting a job? Expressing your thought leadership is an excellent way to “show” rather than “tell” those who matter to you what you can do for them and how you do it. It enables you to differentiate yourself and stand out from the competition. It lets you “show your stuff” and solidify your personal brand in the minds of others.

There are many obvious ways of doing this such as writing articles for trade journals, speaking at events, creating your own events, participating in group on-line discussions, participating in professional associations, collaborating, etc. But before you even think about which road you want to take you should do some research and take the following questions and comments into consideration.

1. Who is in your target audience? Who are the people you want to get in front of? Are they decision makers or the ones who influence the decision makers? Which segment of the population are you addressing? The most productive use of your time would be to focus on a concentrated area or demographic and penetrate it more effectively through increased exposure.

2. What are their needs and pain points? How can you help them? Clearly identifying your target audience enables you to pinpoint and address their specific needs. Do the necessary research to find out what keeps them up at night. Provide value and stand out or you will end up being nothing more than white noise – easy to ignore. Stay current and timely, adding a twist or different point of view on information that may already be out there.

3. What do you like doing and what are you good at - speeches, written product, interviews? Focus on what you like doing and you’ll have a better chance of being consistent and constant in your delivery.

4. Where should your thought leadership be showcased? Whether it’s a blog, guest posts, newspapers, seminars, or special events your company develops, blanketing areas where your target audience lives is the best way to attain the visibility and credibility you want. Once you have captured your target audience’s attention and earned their following, your reputation, your brand, will expand beyond this group.

5. Patience and determination go a long way in building your thought leadership. It takes time for people to trust you, your information, and what you have to offer. Constant relevant exposure over a long period of time will help you build a consistent and growing following.

The rest is up to you. Do you have other ways of developing your thought leadership? Let us know what worked for you.

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


Your Value Added: It’s A Moving Target

Mary Rosenbaum | March 3rd, 2011

I think we can all agree that your passion about what you do is what gets people into the room. Passion is infectious and makes people want to connect with you – they listen and gravitate to you. But once you have them in the same room, how do you keep them there?

It is all about the value you deliver. And in today’s world, value is a moving target. Things change so quickly. The way you provided your services or did your job a year ago may still work but because of increased competition and greater demand for better/faster/less expensive results it has become necessary to constantly improve upon what you deliver.

In order to differentiate yourself and maintain your usual high level of performance it is important to view your expertise as a work in progress, a target that keeps moving away just as you seem to reach it.

I know the work I delivered 5 years ago, or even a year ago, is vastly different than what I provide for clients today. And hopefully what I deliver today will morph into something even better a year from now. I take classes, read books, articles, blogs, am part of discussions. I do all this so I can learn about and practice new tools, experiment with cutting edge techniques that enhance what I provide clients in a way that takes them to a new level. And as a result, they are constantly challenging me to come up with even better ways of working with them.

I look at coaching as a puzzle. Every time I complete the puzzle, I find different pieces that make the puzzle bigger, better, and more interesting. And you can too.

These are some of the demands I make on myself so that I can keep changing and growing, staying ahead of the curve so my performance stands out from the crowd.

1. Alway curious. Find the student in you and keep him alive. It is easy to be complacent when you reach a certain point in your career. If you are considered an expert or a leader, it is even more important to keep looking for ways to stay on a learning curve as you teach or lead others.

2. Open minded. Valuable insights sometimes come from the most unlikely sources. I know I have made connections to the work I do from the most unexpected places including a stand up routine by Colin Quinn on the evolution of mankind, a session with a “genius” at the Apple help store, and even an interaction with the check-out people at my local Fairway supermarket. Listening fully and being in the moment wherever you are provides you with great opportunities for being open minded.

3. Flexible. There is often more than one way to complete a project or do the work you do – in a world where there are many more experts across so many industries and specialties there is greater demand for customization, not standardization. Flexibility enables you to work with and for different cultures and in different environments, each with their own set of unique requirements.

4. Collaborative and generous. The whole is equal to greater than the sum of its parts. The end product is often better when you can work with others whose expertise dovetails with yours. Sharing the credit for a job done exceptionally well is far better than taking the full credit for work that is mediocre in some areas while outstanding in others. Your unique value really comes through when you spotlight it without burying it in work that does not reflect well.

5. Comfortable with change. As your skill set grows your focus on what you do and how you do it changes. And change can be uncomfortable. Incorporating a new way of thinking or behaving can often feel like being in a rudderless boat adrift in the middle of the sea. Allowing yourself the opportunity to experiment and even fail at times is important in order for real growth to occur.

Are there other ways you keep your eye on the moving target? Let me know and I can add it to my list.

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


Personal Branding: Is Your Reputation Holding You Back?

Mary Rosenbaum | February 3rd, 2011

In response to a post I recently wrote on bullet proofing your reputation, I was asked if it was possible to repair a damaged reputation. This begs another question. What if your reputation is not damaged but the way you are viewed limits the heights you can reach? Can you change the way people view you or do you have to leave town, change your job or career, or learn to own the reputation others have of you?

A few years ago Alec Baldwin went through a very public and messy divorce. During that time a tape of a message he left on his daughter’s answering machine became public. He said some terrible things, calling her unspeakable names and using words not commonly associated with good parenting. Given the speed of social media, the tape went viral and nearly destroyed his career. His starring role on the TV show 30 Rock appeared to be in jeopardy as rumors about his impending replacement spread throughout the industry.

So what did Alec Baldwin do?

He spent the next couple of years burnishing a reputation where his name became synonymous with philanthropy out on the East End of Long Island and in NYC. He became the voice of Lincoln Center’s Metropolitan Opera, freely donated his time, talents, and name to large and small charities alike representing the arts, aids, children, the aged. Well, you get the picture. In fact, some consider him the unofficial mayor of the Hamptons, in attendance at almost every benefit throughout the spring and summer months.

He took the negative news and buried it under everything that was positive and did that in the most visible way possible. He led with different values – giving back, caring, generosity, and humility, letting them outshine the ones that got him in trouble. According to friends and relatives, this was the REAL Alec Baldwin, and the public embraced him.

So yes, you can repair the damage AND you can also change the way people see you. You are in control of your brand. I am not suggesting you create it. In fact, anything that smacks of inauthenticity will be quickly seen as manipulative. By way of example, was it a coincidence that Mark Zuckerberg donated $100 million to Newark’s crumbling public school system at the same time that the movie Social Network came out? Does it really matter? The fact is, the coincidence of timing diminished the positive effects it might have had on his personal brand regardless of the fact that his gift will help tens of thousands of students.

Repairing your brand image or changing the way others view you is totally in your hands. Here are some ideas you can use to help you change other people’s opinions of who THEY THINK you are with who YOU KNOW you are.

1. Change your behavior to better reflect your values and your goals. In Baldwin’s case he put a spotlight on the person he knew he was and did it with such gusto that it literally buried the negative news onto the back pages of Google. If you want to move into leadership or get that promotion act as if you already have it. Take on some of the responsibilities of the position whenever possible and take ownership of the results, good or bad. The more you take on the challenges of the new role the more others see you as a possibility for the role you want.

2. Communicate your goals and aspirations clearly. Let those in power know what your goals are and seek out their help in attaining them. Baldwin was industrious in seeking out the philanthropies that would benefit from his involvement (and from whom he would benefit as well) until enough of a critical mass was reached where they sought him out. Reach out to those who can help you in a way that clearly communicates the benefit to you and to them – answer the Why of what you want to do and expand your tribe of supporters.

3.Be authentic in everything you do: be who you are and not who you think you should be. Leading with your core values will ensure that you stay on track and honestly represent who you are.

4. Don’t expect overnight miracles. Opinions are formed in just a few minutes, but changing them takes a lot more time. The right actions coupled with patience and persistence are the keys to achieving your goals.

I wanted to give a shout out to Kelly Fleuhr for including me as #6 in the 25 Best Career Blogs You Aren’t Reading Yet.  Check out some of the others on the list.

http://www.ultrasoundtechnologistschools.org/25-best-career-blogs-you-arent-reading-yet.html#6

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


Personal Branding: It’s All About HOW You Do What You Do

Mary Rosenbaum | January 20th, 2011

I am sure you remember learning about the 5 W’s of writing when you were in school – Who, What, When, Where and Why. The 5 W’s for report or article writing were ingrained in all of us as a means of communicating enough information so the reader understood the facts.

In Personal Branding, the best way to communicate your differentiating values and skills is to answer the questions: What, Why, and How. In a past post I wrote about the importance of Why – your passion – in having others understand what motivates you to do what you do. The background story provides a stickiness and makes it memorable in the mind of the listener. It helps them connect with you on a deeper level as the Why shows rather than tells them about your values.

The What consists of your skills, abilities, education, experience, talents – everything that I call table stakes. The What is what gets you in the game. The What is not what makes you stand out. What you do can be replicated and ultimately commodified with time. There are many lawyers, doctors, accountants, financial analysts, coaches, etc. whose What equals or surpasses yours. What they do may not be identical but it may be a good substitute for what you do. This is not meant to minimize your abilities but to recognize that the way to stand out and be memorable is through your Why and your How.

The How enables you to form the bonds and the relationships that result in developing the trust and like-ability you need for someone to recommend you, use your services, promote you, or hire you. As much as your Why shows the listener what some of your values are, the How shows them the way your values lead your life, your career, or your business.

I was at someone’s home a few weeks ago and a client of my husband’s firm was there. She is not only a client, she is one of their brand ambassadors. She recommends the firm to others whenever she has the chance. I asked her why she recommends them and what she says about them when talking about the firm.

She began describing what I knew to be the values the firm espouses and that each member of the firm is aligned with, and they include the following:

- positive working experience – everyone in the firm with whom she has worked has made it a positive experience every time

- generous – they are inclusive, generously sharing the work and the credit

- reliable and consistent – have always delivered on their promise of value

- creative – they are always looking for new ways to solve existing and recurring problems

- caring – they partner with their clients and genuinely feel their pain

There was no mention of their skill set, the results they delivered, or their knowledge and contacts within the industry. Those were a given. They were the table stakes of what got them in the game. The attributes and values she focused in on were the ones that made the overall experience of working with them rewarding, professionally and personally. In fact, she readily admitted that there are several competitors who have similar skill sets and can do a fine job. But the How of what my husband’s firm does is what tips the scales in their favor. It’s what makes them stand out from the competition.

The How of what you do reflects your values and the values of your organization. So it’s important to understand what your values are and determine whether the How of what you do authentically represents those values.

Here are some actions to take to discover whether you are on target and to gain a better understanding of how your values impact those around you:

1. Get input from your tribe – colleagues, referral sources, clients, bosses – How does what you do affect their opinion of you? Conducting a 360 assessment is probably the most effective way of learning what others think of you. Get those opinions that don’t focus on your expertise – your what – but on your how and why.

2. Do a self assessment – What are the values that are most important to you?

3. How do your values line up with those of your company – are they synergistic or in conflict? How does that affect your work and perceptions of how you perform?

4. Are you in alignment with your values? Is the How of what you do an authentic representation of what you believe in and the way you want to work – or do you feel as if your life is bifurcated, you behave one way at work and another outside of work?

Understanding how your values affect How you do what you do requires both introspection and external feedback in order for it to be meaningful. It is an important part of unearthing your Personal Brand and will lead to more informed behavior on your part and improved success in communicating your unique promise of value. Without it you become a commodity and then it’s all about the price.

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


Personal Branding: Bullet Proof Your Reputation

Mary Rosenbaum | January 11th, 2011

On November 4, 1979 Ted Kennedy was interviewed by Roger Mudd prior to Kennedy’s announcement that he was going to run for President. A five minute segment of that interview changed the course of his political career. After 17 years of service in the Senate and after successfully combating the potential career destroying effects of the car crash on Chappaquiddick in1969, he did in a few minutes what his detractors couldn’t accomplish in years. What happened?

Roger Mudd asked him “Why do you want to be President?” Kennedy, who was known for his ability to think quickly and articulate his thoughts clearly, stumbled through a response that left a huge question mark over his real reasons for running for office. It was clear to everyone who watched that interview that Kennedy was not following his own calling but rather going through the motions based on a script written by someone else.

Those few minutes on television provided an audience of millions the opportunity to see Kennedy respond to the question with an inauthenticity that bordered on deceit. As a result of this interview, he lost his credibility as a viable candidate, his following, and the nomination. He lost the trust of his followers, damaging his reputation through a conspicuous lack of transparency and authenticity. Although he was able to rehabilitate his reputation over his many years of service and was admired and loved for his work, his Presidential aspirations were derailed forever.

Your reputation, your personal brand, reflects who you are in all you do and impacts what people thought of you yesterday and what they will think of you tomorrow. It is character defining. And strong character is what we all look for in those with whom we build relationships. In fact, the definition of character includes:

-the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual

-the strength and originality in a person’s nature

-a person’s good reputation

Reputation is your competitive advantage. A solid reputation not only allows you to be in the game but it influences your ability to get that promotion, win the account, or make the sale.

To be sure you earn a reputation you can be proud of, the values and qualities you want to embody are:

1. Honesty – be who you say you are. In a world where your reputation and past actions can easily be discovered through vast social networks, both online and offline, truth is easier to maintain than fiction. Connecting to your past today is just a mouse click away.

2. Authenticity – stay true to your values, passion and purpose. Living authentically helps you live a more fulfilled life, stay engaged and be at the top of your game because you are doing what you want and you are doing it well. People like to connect with those who are fully engaged and passionate about what they do.

3. Transparency – let them see how you do what you do. Transparency eliminates any questions regarding your purpose or your methods, another building block in developing trust.

4. Providing Merit – deliver what you promise and always make it your best. When you provide value you earn respect, develop relationships and easily build your tribe of supporters.

5. Consistency – delivering on your promise each and every time. Consistency results in building credibility and trust, the foundations of a successful career, business, and personal life.

6. Patience and Perseverance- your reputation is not built in a day. It is earned every day through your actions and behavior. Understanding what your reputation is, how it is growing, and seeking out new ways to improve your behaviors are key to continued success, professionally and personally.

Although it takes a great deal of time to build your reputation, it takes very little time to destroy it. A perfect example of someone who has been unable to rehabilitate a severely damaged reputation and career is Mel Gibson. It took one drunken moment to start the downward spiral his career has taken. Only time will tell whether he can reverse this trend but based on his activities and comments since then, it is doubtful.

So build your character, earn and bullet proof your reputation and you will surely 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