Warning: 3 Trends You Need to Embrace to Shape Your Brand
Every week we receive requests to coach a new manager, a leader who has been identified as high potential, or an executive facing a career crisis. It is our job to figure out the gap between expectations and performance or identify the leverage which can take the leader to the next level. Having worked with thousands of leaders last year across the world, we have noticed 3 branding trends which should not be ignored.
- YOU Are in the Driver’s Seat Now – Gone are the days when HR or “the boss” took the lead in determining your possible career trajectory. We are watching a fundamental shift where more companies are rolling out initiatives asking leaders to take ownership of this process – in essence, take responsibility for building their own brand. The days when you walked into the office expecting someone else to take the lead about your career are no longer the norm. The bar has been raised! The expectation has shifted to YOU coming in with a game plan and asking for a path you think is best for you and the company. We are watching patience dwindle and sighs grow louder as the powers to be share story after story of leaders struggling with this branding shift. Embrace the shift and make a conscious choice on your own to jump in the driver’s seat.
- Having an Online Presence is No Longer Optional – We have all seen this trend growing over time. No surprise there. What IS surprising is how the expectation has SKYROCKETED! We are hearing more and more that impressive online profiles and current photos can be a differentiator when deciding whether or not to consider someone for an interview. We have all read the tough stories about a casual or poorly timed comment on twitter dramatically damaging someone’s career. Some leaders have opted out of having an on-line presence at all because they felt the risk was too high. Now? If you are not present on-line somewhere in a credible fashion, an unspoken question bubbles up – why are they hiding? At the very least, make sure your internal company profile pic is no older than 3 years and less than that if you have physically changed in a major way. Make a calendar reminder to work on your LinkedIn profile once a week. Stay relevant and visible . . . which leads us to the last trend.
- Out of Sight Can Translate into Out of Mind – Science shows us just how quickly we make assumptions. In all of my years of teaching systems thinking, I have found that these underlying mental models speak loudly – you just have to listen closely to what is NOT being said out loud. A trend quietly surfacing is the “out of sight, out of mind” phenomenon. Even we are surprised at the havoc it is causing on careers. Many positions now require much of the interaction be done virtually. It is built into the structure of the position. We all understand that. What is NOT understood is that when a large percentage of our job requires virtual communication, we have to make a conscious choice to invest MORE effort into building our personal brand within the company. Too many leaders have found themselves in a tough position, eyes widened with shock, when they learn their brand has taken a hit because they were not visible enough. “What? I was doing what YOU asked me to do” is often the response. Lesson for all of us? Despite what the position officially requires, building your brand – staying relevant, being visible, and leveraging key relationships – is YOUR responsibility. Don’t underestimate the impact of the structure of the position. It is predictable, and with careful thought, you can get ahead of the curve.
Reporting to you from the frontlines of corporate leadership across, you heard it here friends. Consider yourself warned . . .
Written by Kimberly Faith