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Personal Brands Aren’t Just for Marketers – Part Two of Three

Know what you stand for.
Chris Laping
Contributing Writer

Last week, I kicked off a 3-part series on your personal brand … why it’s important, and how it’s different than traditional sales-y logos and corporate colors. In case you missed it, the punchline for part 1 was: your personal brand is what you stand for and what your unique, unduplicated role is in the world. When other people interact with you, your personal brand is what makes you unmistakably you. It’s why people love you at work & life.

After publishing part 1, a reader reached out who I’ve been developing a friendship with for a few months. His name is Matt, and he gave me permission to share his story. Matt is a director-level IT leader with 20+ years of experience. While it’s true he would be considered a seasoned veteran, there are plenty of IT Directors out there with that exact profile.

But here’s what makes him unique. He shared his mission with me: “To end toxic work environments.” This means he values culture, organizational health, and nurturing a team who LOVE working together.

Building on this, I would now describe Matt as “A human-centered tech leader who puts an end to toxic work environments.” Do you see how his persona instantly changed by including his specific cause in the headline?

If I were to ask his execs what they value most about working with him, I bet I’d hear something like, “Even though he’s in tech, he’s one of the most effective people leaders in our company!”

Why is this important?

Because when people know what you stand for, they don’t just notice what you do … they notice HOW you do it. That’s what makes you different.

Different = Hard to Replace

Hard to Replace = Value

It’ll be the #1 reason someone won’t outsource your job. It’ll be the #1 reason why you’ll be given promotion opportunities. It’ll be the #1 reason why super talented employees on your team won’t leave. Or the #1 reason you’ll be able to attract a coveted recruit.

You get the point.

Sometimes we aren’t as clear as Matt about what we stand for. So, last week I offered a way to start the process.

I challenged you to ask a trusted co-worker, “What do you value most about working with me?” Their answer likely forms the foundation of your personal brand.

They might’ve said you were the:

  • “Get shit done” person
  • Lovable people leader
  • Most amazing problem solver

It’s not that we should be defining ourselves solely by what others say but our success leaves a trail. Sometimes outsiders notice things we don’t. Once you have those clues, you can put together what you’re known for with what you stand for in a headline.

In Matt’s case, he’s the human-centered tech leader who puts an end to toxic work environments. It includes a wicked little paradox about his known-for (human vs. tech) and what he personally stands for. The more Matt stays true to his personal brand in his day-to-day actions, judgments, decisions and words, the more his potential will be recognized, celebrated and rewarded. However, if Matt constantly flips the script and one day he’s “the AI guy,” and the next day he’s “the ruthless cost cutter,” then Matt’s reputation will be far less understood.

Consistency is the unlock to everything you want. When people know and value what you stand for, you have an unique, unduplicated role in your company. And that’s when the magic happens.

ExecThread reports the job market is heating up now! Therefore, next week I’ll show you how to use your personal brand to create external opportunities for yourself if your personal brand isn’t appreciated, valued, or rewarded in your current job.

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