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Posts Tagged ‘Brand building’

Professionals need to step back every once in a while and check if their brand image is bright and shining. Keeping one’s brand value burnished helps in career progression. It is also an immensely satisfying slice of life which promotes self-worth and boosts self-confidence.

Here is a checklist of the kind of inputs which go into keeping a professional’s brand value burnished.

1. Under-promise, over-deliver
Being aware of our core strengths as well as limitations helps us to assess our chances of success in delivering on a project. By ensuring that we commit conservatively but deliver zealously, we build up a reputation of reliability. There are indeed times when a polite ‘no’ could save us from denting our reputation.

2. Practice honesty and openness in relationships
Our colleagues and team members are equally smart. They are quick to sense a touch of opacity on our part. They detest a lack of transparency in us. Dealing with those around us with honesty ensures that they repose their faith and trust in us. As a result, our capability of getting things done improves.

3. Be a friend, philosopher and guide
All of us have some expertise which may not be directly relevant to our Key Result Area. It could be an insight into theTEAMS realm of alternative therapies which a colleague can use for one of her family members. It could be about handling rebellious teenagers at home. If we put such expertise to use by helping others around us, word goes around and others rush in to seek our counsel. We might have the image of a tough task master, but this softer aspect of our personality helps us to build a unique brand for ourselves.

4. Network
Whether within the organization or outside, networking goes a long way in building up our reputation. The trick, however, is in avoiding those with a negative outlook, while promoting ties with those who have positive vibes.

5. Keep learning
Keeping the saw sharpened always helps. By refreshing our knowledge pool continuously, we remain a leader in more ways than one. Often, a dash of humility is all it needs to remain ahead of the curve.

6. Be genuine
By being ourselves, we enhance our dependability. Others feel reassured and refreshed after each encounter with us. They do not mind confiding in us. In turn, this helps us to understand and address their anxiety and concerns better. Our ability to deliver improves.

A brand is all about reliability and dependability. It offers good value for money. So do professionals who work on the basis of deliverables. Smart ones realize that an image is merely a matter of perception. It needs to be backed by real inputs so one’s brand value remains intact and is kept burnished at all times.

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BEING UNREASONABLE

Taj Mahal was not created by a Mughal emporer who decided to be reasonable with the artisans. Great works of creativity, whether in the realm of science, fine arts or culture, did not get done by leaders in respective fields who decided to be mediocre in their approach. Nelson Mandela won over apartheid because he decided to be unreasonable and swam against the current. Of late, the Jasmine Revolution sweeping a part of our planet and the kind of social activism which we find blossoming within India, reflect social changes which could not have come about based on a doctrine of conformity and reasonableness. India can justifiably boast of business houses which have spurred the economy’s growth based on principles of fair practices in conducting their business and also a policy of pegging their business plans and targets much higher than what many would consider unreasonable in the present. The future is surely shaped by level-headed achievers who do not take “no” for an answer!

To quote George Bernard Shaw: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

BEING AN OSTRICH

Most leaders operate on early warning systems. Those who do not foresee a problem coming up often repent at leisure.

BIG FISH IN SMALLER OUTFITS 

In a smaller outfit, one can get a closer view of the core business processes. If you have an entrepreneurial bent of mind, and love the unbridled authority, go for it.

Small enterprises are generally leaner and fitter; in fact, too bare bones for executive comfort. The idea is to hire a single guy when three are required. As a result, the exposure one gets is pretty rich and multi-hued. In comparison, larger outfits tend to accumulate more flab and less muscle.

Be aware that in smaller enterprises, authority flows from a single person (or his/her kitchen cabinet). Thus, the level of authority required at any point in time could vary depending upon the whims and fancies of the top dog (or bitch, if you like). In larger outfits, one could draw authority from multiple sources, and thereby enjoy better survival prospects!

BOSS – MEET HIM HALFWAY THROUGH

Amongst other things, you also get paid for keeping your boss’s BP under check. Pity the poor over-stressed guy and update himBoss - Meet Him Halfway Through before he thinks of any project assigned to you. In other words, meet him half way through.

If it is getting delayed, or worse, not getting done at all, make him an accomplice to murder by keeping him informed in advance. In case you are likely to meet your target, present him with a draft report/outcome before the deadline. In case the target itself gets upgraded or modified, it would give you a clear advantage.

BRAND BUILDING

Creating and maintaining a good corporate culture, giving employees a sense of ownership, is the first building block. Long term investment in R&D, quality and innovation is another sine qua non.

Trusting and empowering employees helps. So does having a numbers target for all departments, leading to easier evaluation and a transparent reward system.

BURN OUTS

A mental state attained by those who believe they are working very hard, thereby catapulting them to the category of those who are hardly working. Three clear signs of attaining this state are exhaustion, fatalism (leading to cynicism) and inefficacy. Causes could be an information overload, unrealistic targets and perpetual “busyness”.

The antacid cures for burn outs could be delegation, focusing on important rather than urgent and counseling.

BUSINESS SCHOOLS

The academic exposure is great, and leads one to visualize the impact of one’s decision across varied functions. If one believes that academic brilliance translates into business success, one is miles off the mark. The former is directly proportional to one’s IQ and the latter to one’s EQ levels.

Formally educated managers often suffer from the Analysis Paralysis Syndrome. A smaller company hiring more than one MBA is quite likely to go bankrupt. A larger behemoth can surely afford the luxury, and cannot do without quite a handful of them.

When it comes to creativity and innovation, they could drag you down. HR departments need to remember that Newton and Einstein never went to a business school. Had they done so, we might have never heard of them.

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