Photo Credit: (C) 2011 Keith Bell used with permission through DepositPhotos.com
Making Your Brand
You want to know how to “build your brand”? Show up, work hard, don’t be a jerk and solve people’s problems for them. It’s that simple. No matter what it is you do for a living.
I realized that Robert had succinctly summed up the core of a brand. A personal brand is all about exactly three things:
- Your work ethic.
- How you treat others.
- The value you deliver.
Everything else is marketing. And, if your delivery doesn't meet or exceed the hype of your marketing then your brand will, deservedly, be tarnished.
Lots of folks on LinkedIn, myself and others, will talk about how to identify, define, and promote your brand. Many will offer to coach you through the creation of your brand. Whatever they offer, if it doesn't speak to these three things first, then the offer is probably all hype and no meat.
When I think about my brand through the lenses above, it helps me makes more sense of some decisions I have made in the past. There have been engagements I turned down, even when the money was good, because I needed to protect my brand.
For example, I had a boss who wanted me to run a program for him and to manage the projects within the program. I told him that I was not willing to do that because it would result in significant failure. He was puzzled at why I would suggest that a successful project manager such as I would predict my own failure.
I told him that while the skills of both the project and program manager are alike, the key difference is their focus. While the project manager needs to be laser focused on their project, understanding the details, the interdependencies, and the players involved, this nearly mono-maniacal obsession over the details which helps the project manager succeed will cause the program manager to fail.
In contrast with the project manager, a program manager needs to be able to look at the larger picture. Seeing how the various projects fit together. Watching for emerging risks and trends in the company or marketplace which could derail some or all of the projects in the program, or devalue their results.
I told my boss that I could either manage the program, or the projects. To do both at the same time would dramatically increase the probability that I would be looking the wrong way at a critical juncture. Either I would be too focused on the details of a project to see a larger, external threat, or I would be focused on managing the bigger issues and key details would slip past me, resulting in unexpected impacts to project deliverables.
A key part of my brand is being able to successfully deliver the results my client wants. I knew that if I accepted the engagement as presented, one way or another, my reputation would likely be tarnished by missing something I should have caught. Something I would have caught if my focus were in the right place.
How has your brand management affected your willingness to take on certain engagements or clients?
Tom Sheppard is The Skillfull PM (TM) & the author of "The Art of Project Management." He specializes in leading large ($10mm+) projects for US financial services companies. More than 20 years experience in project management in banking and financial services with a PMP and MPM. More than 25 years experience in systems design, development, and management with a BSCS/MIS. Former US Marine and a former missionary. Fluent in English and Spanish. Experienced instructor. Successful business owner, international author and public speaker.
His LinkedIn Profile is: http://linkedin.com/in/tsheppard
Specialties: Program management, project management, change management, process design, business case development, negotiation, multi-tier system architecture, real-time parallel distributed databases, private placements and creative finance.
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