Monday, November 2, 2009

Washington DC Business Coaching; Control Your Brand and Reputation, Even When You’re Not Around

In his October 2009 Newsletter, James Bowles, Washington DC’s leading Executive Business Coach and career transition consultant, outlines the facets of your personal “brand” and reputation – that stand to scrutiny when you’re not around. What do people say about you when you aren't around? Or more importantly, what does your boss, current (or future) client, or other key stakeholders and partners say about you when you aren't around? For example, in a compensation review meeting (when promotions to key positions are being discussed) or simply when your work and additional opportunities to hire (or fire) you are being considered?

The things that people say about you when you are not around is usually called your reputation. A better way to think about it is that it's your personal "brand" – and this is one of the biggest factors in your ultimate success on the job, with clients and around your community. Here's the good news: for the most part, YOU completely control it! Here’s the challenge – to control it appropriately, you may need some essential business coaching, to learn some essential facets of personal brand marketing, reputation management and talent management (a.k.a. “human resource management”).

Three things make up your brand – your skills (i.e. what you know), your experience (i.e. what you’ve done well), and your attitude (i.e. how you act). These are the things that others remember and discuss when the conversation becomes about you, without you. However, having a great brand may not be enough by itself – like any developing brand, marketing yourself is required. Key stakeholders need to know your skills, experiences, and attitudes…so check around. Who needs to know, who do you need to influence? It's wise to make your brand known to everyone, but it's crucial to know who will be making the decisions you care about. Also, it's important to know who influences the decision makers.

Once you know them make a list - then determine the following:

  • Have they heard of you?
  • Do they know you?
  • Have they seen your work?
  • Have they been positively impacted by your work?
  • Do they know what you want to do?

Work through this list, thinking of how you can have an impact on the decision makers. Turn the answer to these questions to “yes, absolutely!”. Find ways to work on projects that they care about, or be on teams that work on their projects. The key thing here is that the relationship needs to be give-and-take. Do something positive for them to establish your brand, and maybe they will respond by helping you down the road. Quite literally, the most powerful force for successful career change and accomplishment for executives and business leaders is active personal marketing and partnership with stakeholders to obtain feedback, reflect, and act upon it.

This sort of internal “reputation brand marketing and management” is essential in your career, especially if you’re seeking a career change or in fact re-entering the workforce from a layoff, as a Mom returning to work, or establishing new independent career goals. If in fact your career change results, like so many of these do actually do, in reliance on decision makers and stakeholders you don’t actually know (for example future clients or employers learning about you on the Internet), your personal brand and reputation management actions require a degree of Internet Information Marketing and Management skills (and some social media coaching). This is to ensure you come across the way you desire when people search for you, or your services, on the Internet, in social media channels, or through business and information directories.

For more information regarding DC Business Coaching, Executive Leadership Training, and HR Talent Management, contact James Bowles, Washington DC Executive Coach and HR Consulting. For more information regarding Personal Online Marketing and Reputation Management, contact KME Internet Marketing.

Continue reading about “The Word on the Street (About You)”...