Phase 3, Step 9 - Refine Your Brand
Step 9: Establish your personal brand identity. Who do you want to be in your new role? Take a hard look at who you are now. Do you want to be an Angelina Jolie or a Donald Trump? A Phil Knight or a Barack Obama? Everyone comes to an MBA program with a personal brand identity, but is it the one you want to keep? If you consider that an MBA program can be somewhat like a finishing school, the person who graduates doesn’t necessarily have to have the same personal brand identity as the person who enrolled in the program. This is your opportunity to change yourself with the knowledge you gain in the program and refine your brand image towards who you’d like to be at work. As Stephen Covey puts it, “Begin with the end in mind”. This step is all about identifying the leader or the manager you want to be and starting to create the right habits in your life to be seen as that person by everyone else. Stephen Covey’s Eight Habits of Highly Effective People and Richard Boyatzis’ Resonant Leadership are two highly acclaimed leadership books that assume that there are certain qualities that make a great leader and that each of us can improve our leadership qualities. Think about your strengths. This is all about refining and getting better at your strengths. You have completed this step when you feel good about some new habits that you’ve started and are hearing positive feedback from your peers and associates.
- Think about an important mentor or leader you’ve encountered in your life. What were some of the great qualities they had?
- Do people respond positively to your emails? Could there be something in the subject line or body of your email that could be written smarter or more effectively?
- Are you comfortable presenting in front of a group of 20+ peers? Would you like to be?
- Think of your boss or the person who holds the position you want. How are they dressed? Could your wardrobe benefit from a fashion overhaul?
- Do you follow through with your commitments? Are your responses timely?
- Are you proactive in your approach, or do you wait for things to hit you and then react?
- How comfortable are you with meeting new people or in networking events? Do you know what to say? or who to talk with?
- Pick a consumer product (Coke, Intel, Inside) or a person that emulates the leader you’d like to be. Draft a list of adjectives that describes that ‘brand’ . Describe how the brand dresses or acts. Describe why the brand is liked or admired.
- Pick one to three areas where you can make improvements. Think baby steps. Start a new habit and do it every day for 30 days. This can be exercise, leaving work at 5pm, reaching out to a new contact once per week, practicing your elevator pitch, doing what’s on your ‘to do’ list for the day, returning all your email, tweeting…whatever you know will emulate the brand you want. Make it a habit. Then pick a second one for month two.
- Invite a friend to review your wardrobe. Tell them what image you would like to project. Is it a “classic style” or “creative” or “CEO”? Ask help to sort your work clothes based on your brand. Send a box to Goodwill and make a list of 3 new items you would like to add to your wardrobe this season.
- Consider taking an etiquette class about table manners, especially if you have not had formal instruction or are not familiar with US table customs. (“Dine with a Diplomat” is periodically offered at Willamette). Interviews and client meetings will happen over food. Make sure that you know what to order, which fork to use and whether or not to order an alcoholic beverage.
- Google Yourself. Many employers will do this when you interview. Do you like what you find? Are your photos on Facebook blocked or professionally appropriate? Do you have the right key words in your LinkedIn profile? Do your sports or professional speaking dates show up? Find time to clean out your digital dirt and insert items that you want to be googled.
- First impressions are made in 60 seconds or less. Is the impression you give a good one? Draft your ‘elevator pitch’ answering the question, ‘What do you do?’ as if you were stuck in an elevator for 14 floors with Bill Gates or Donald Trump or someone who had the power to offer you a job. This elevator pitch should be no longer than 2 minutes
Deliverable for GSM5108:
Draft your elevator pitch and video tape it via the video resume section of Optimal Resume. Ask your peers to review your LinkedIn and Facebook profiles and give you feedback. Draft an essay outlining your brand, your elevator pitch and an action plan for professional development. Upload to your Optimal Resume Portfolio.
After Class: Have 3 people listen to your elevator pitch, revise it and re-tape it. When you’ve re-uploaded it, ask your PCA for feedback.
Why this is important:
You are a unique individual with a distinct personality and specialized strengths. Make sure you embrace your personal brand and showcase who you are in combination with who you want to become.