What’s the view of you as an executive? Is it as clear as you think or is it obscured? What do you want it to be? In re-reading one of my dad’s old short stories, Blather, the narrator hysterically drives the story of excessive worry of a mother about her son. Without clarity, I see a lot of people, executives included, blathering away their brands.
verb blath·er \ˈbla-thər\blath·eredblath·er·ing \-th(ə-)riŋ\
intransitive verb : to talk foolishly at length —often used with on
In working with executives on career transition, branding and other issues it takes a lot of concentration to learn the nuances of their personalities, penchants and brand preferences. Usually what I find when speaking to high achieving executives impresses me. They worked very hard. They earn and have earned a tidy sum of money. They found better ways to do things whether they owned their own business or significantly drove someone else’s enterprise forward. When they decide to make a change these high achieving leaders don’t like to mess around and they believe in moving forward with excellent advice. But in doing so many of the highest achievers I meet possess branding blindspots.
If you are at the $100,000++ level and are not asking these questions or not thinking through these issues with your business advisors, including a branding or career coach, I think you may be creating some unintended consequences now or later for your brand reputation. You may be blathering. To me your brand reputation carries with you from assignment to assignment, business to business. Owning your brand and beginning to create the impression you want should not start or stop at a certain age, income level or career ladder/progression. To remove blather, you need to closely manage it and care for it every step of the way.
Here are some ideas and questions I ask them or ask myself as I examine their existing brand:
Consistency Matters. Are you in a position to develop and keep up a blog to update your brand? If you are not and just “stabbing at” a new blog or the new blogging platform on LinkedIn or anywhere else you may be creating the wrong impression or amplifying your sloppiness. But if you are engaging and reaching out good. But is it new or different? Then consistency not experimentation matters and needs to be emphasized.
Your Next Move Strategy. Are you going to consult, become self employed or become employed? Regardless, you need to create content that could help you and that strategically aligns with your next role or incarnation. Unfortunately I see a lot of top performers try things that make them look like a retired person or a jobseeker when their image should be catered to what they want.
Google Eyes. If I look at you from the point of view of Google what would I notice? Many executives do not know how the generations see them on social media or through the eyes of Google. Yes, Google yourself. Find out what the impression of you is via Images, Video, Audio and in Writing. Look at all and start a campaign to create.
Who You Are Now Not Then. Does it matter to you the impression you have on people who do not know you from your last, successful assignment? Many high achievers look back, look in their bank accounts and rely on past achievements to create new impressions. Find out what others who don’t know you but who should know you would perceive now. If you like what they see don’t change it add to it. If not, it’s time to work on it.
Buy Custom Not Kit. Have long have you been engaging on social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and more? I see a lot of $100,000 people buy into “kits” on how to power up their image on social media or package themselves on LinkedIn. Quite frankly a lot of good ideas are out there but they are not for everyone. I recommend a customized approach to your LinkedIn and other strategies.
Inside Out Analysis. Among the people that know you what is there perception of your brand value and impact? What you want them to think and what you perceive that they think may be different. Find out about both. Interview folks. If you are making some kind of career or entrepreneurial change do this now. Start from your inside friends and associates and work out.
Intent on Social Media. Does what you want people to know about you convey effectively on social media now? A lot of folks run into problems by starting some kind of social media engagement. They don’t do it with intent but in a willy nilly fashion. Your social media plan even on so-called personal sites like Facebook should be planned events and habits and exchanges. Being intentional matters. Most aren’t.
Who You Are Now. Does the brand you built in your last enterprise need any update to take on the new challenges you may face in your next role? Do not assume that who you were before and what you want to be conveys the way it needs to on social media. Work on the reinvention of you now and begin building new, social neuro-pathways to the new you.
Blogging or Blathering. What is the case for or against blogging for you, not for anyone else, but for you? Everyone seems to think it’s time to blog. Thank you LinkedIn for this platform but as I see it this oversharing can have unintended consequences. Create blogs but post them only intentionally. Now we have so much oversharing and blathering about any issue it waters down people’s brand qualities.
Legacy Your Brand Basics. How do you want to be known or remembered long-term? It matters to most high achievers who I have worked with that their legacy means something more than monetary success. If you have neglected or want your brand reputation to matter to those that matter to you you must start that intent now. Branding basics should be tied to long-term plans. This need to be refined as you consider new ventures and opportunities.
The last line of my dad’s story reads: I don’t know what it is. The mother cannot tell what she sees because her over worried vision remains obscured. Many brands could be strong but they lack clarity. That lack of clarity can be confusing or astonishingly unclear.