Building Your Personal Brand

Last year I made a trip to Hong Kong, where I met with a potential international client and enjoyed the local food, culture and people of China. While en route I picked up the August edition of American Way magazine. In the magazine I read an interview that Chris Warren had with David D’Alessandro, the CEO of John Hancock Financial Services. In the article, Mr. D’Alessandro stated that each employee, with every little move, is building a reputation—a personal brand. As a guide to building the right brand, D’Alessandro had ten rules of career success. I thought you would enjoy reviewing this list:

  1. Look beyond your navel. Many people become so self-absorbed that they have an absurdly unrealistic view of how others regard them. Knowing how you come across will help you become the person you want to be—that means effective, competent, and fair.
  2. Your boss is the coauthor of your brand. Your boss is the filter through which higher-ups view your accomplishments and failings. Treat your relationship with your boss carefully.
  3. Put your boss on the couch. Figure out whether your boss is the type to stand in your way or help your brand.
  4. Learn which is the pickle fork. Know the importance of etiquette and good manners. Show that you belong in the world of senior executives.
  5. Kenny Rogers is right. Sometimes a work situation is hopeless and you have to, as Rogers sang, know when to fold ‘em. One example is a family-owned business: Don’t expect to rise to the top, because family businesses stay in the family.
  6. It’s always show time. Big events don’t make careers. Attention to mundane, everyday actions builds brands and good careers.
  7. Make the right enemies. Never offending anyone dilutes your brand. But make the right choices about the fights you pick.
  8. Don’t get swallowed by the bubble. If you reach the top, don’t believe the stories about your own genius. Surround yourself with people who are honest and be willing to accept criticism.
  9. The higher you fly, the more you will be shot at. Success breeds criticism. Prepare to be a target and prepare for bad news—or prevent it—before it happens. Admit when you are wrong and never adopt a bunker mentality.
  10. Make sure you stay a contender. It’s never too late to change your brand. Be conscious every day of what kind of brand you’re building, and don’t let setbacks deter you.

To wrap up this month’s topic, I want to quote D’Alessandro: “Just as company names call forth an image in consumers’ minds, your name triggers a mental image in every person you work with. And just as with companies, that image goes a long way toward determining your career success.”

If you have any questions, feel free to give me a phone call at 303-225-0328. There is never a charge for my consultation time, whether talking to me on the phone or in person. Yes, you read correctly, my consultation time is always free.

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