Sunday, October 3, 2010

Is it Time to Develop Your Own Individual Brand?

As organisations fight their way out of the recession, the acquisition and retention of human talent is proving to be a significant competitive advantage. Yet as organisations start looking for managerial and other specialised talent to take them forward into the 21st century, how are you going to ensure that you stand out, as an individual, from the crowd of ‘look-a-like’ talented employees.

Creating a recognised individual image and ‘brand’ has normally been left to the lofty heights of the CEO’s and top entrepreneurs, yet individuals will now have to start ‘developing their image’ much earlier in their careers, maybe even as early as university, to ensure they stand out for the right reasons.

Getting yourself noticed isn’t about shouting the loudest or being the most arrogant or opinionated individual in a group – in fact this is likely to create the wrong image going forward. It’s finding a balance between expressing, sharing, and practically implementing your knowledge; and having the patience and empathy to listen to others opinion. It’s creating a ‘history’ where people want to ask your advice and opinion; and where you accept these questions with grace and without letting the attention go to your head.

Organisations aren’t only going to be looking for individual talent, but talent that is able to work effectively with other talented individuals, in strategic or operational teams - finding the optimal solutions for their organisations, without a need for personal recognition.

In creating your own unique image and brand you should consider the following factors;

1. Develop a skill and talent you enjoy (and never assume that you’ve learnt enough about the subject);

2. Develop a basic understanding of the generic principles that drive a successful business;

3. Learn advanced communication skills, like NLP, that will give you an advantage when communicating with others;

4. Never assume that you are superior to anyone and learn to be humble (people will see your skills for what they are in practice, if you have to sell yourself too hard, maybe you still have a lot to learn);

5. Be aware of your image at all times, and learn to be confident, (but never over confident);

6. Network effectively, as you want people to remember your name for the right reasons;

7. Never burn your bridges (and learn to control your emotions);

8. Learn to be a good leader and a good follower (as you’re likely to have to perform both rolls as your career develops);

9. Become someone who can be trusted and relied on;

10. And when, at last, you have developed your personal ‘brand’ and are successful, never forget the journey, the people who supported you along the way, and don’t turn your back on others starting off on the same journey.

Talent acquisition and retention will become a core strategy for many organisations that have learnt from their mistakes in their journey through the global recession. For those individuals that have ambition, being part of one of these organisations must be your goal. This won’t only be the large multi-national organisations; as all organisations, large and small, whether in a global or niche market, will focus on talent management and development to give them a superior competitive advantage.

It’s time to get yourself noticed for the right reasons, so start developing your personal image, and create those business networks that will mean your name is on employers lips when they are searching for the best in your field. That doesn’t mean being a ‘yes man’ or worse - it means being knowledgeable, reliable and an effective team player, focused on organisational success.

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