Aristotle on Personal Branding

Aristotle on Personal Branding
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“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not
an act but a habit.” –Aristotle

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Consistent Behaviors

I am always talking about how Brand is about consistent behaviors.

In fact, I just was interviewed by a Forbes Magazine editor for 90 minutes on this topic.  Turns out, I was scooped by Aristotle!

As Aristotle will tell you, what I am saying about branding is not a new idea.

The Big Idea

But the big idea here for me is that we build or degrade our Personal Brand every single day — in every single conversation, meeting, email, presentation, and interaction we have with others.

You are broadcasting your Personal Brand

The behaviors people experience most consistently from you, ARE your Personal Brand.

(By the way this is true for corporate brands too.  Your company’s brand is granted to your company based on your customers’ cumulative experience with all the products, services, processes, communications, and employees that interact with customers.)

You have a personal brand today whether you know it or not.

The question is –  is it what you want it to be?  And are you doing anything consistently, on purpose, to give people any particular impression of you?

Choice #1 – Build  your Personal Brand on Purpose

If you want to build your Personal Brand here are the steps.

  • Learn what you are known for.  Get some feedback from people who know you and work with you.
  • Decide what you want to be known for.  Understand if there is a gap.
  • Define some specific behaviors that support your Brand.
  • Do them on Purpose every chance you get.
  • Get help with this.

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For example if you wanted a Brand of being…

  • Efficient: Don’t write long emails, ever.  Do present (every time) how your solutions save time and resources along with getting the desired outcome.
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  • Well Connected in your industry: Don’t take on projects alone, engage your network.  Do expose the virtual team you’ve created and always include externally sourced content in your communications.
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  • Cutting Through Chaos and solving complicated problems: Don’t ever participate in group email debates, offer obtuse suggestions, or let issues fester.  Do offer concrete ideas and close off loose ends – every day.

Choice #2 – Leave it to chance

Why now?

If you have made it this far in your career without bothering to build your Personal Brand, why should you worry about it now?

One hazard of leaving your Personal Brand to chance is that you remain somewhat of a blank.

Even if you are generally known as “good”, when opportunities come up, if you are not known for anything in particular so you don’t stand out very much.  You don’t stand out as much as someone who is known for something specific.

Many people are striving for more recognition,  relevance,  and respect.   Building your Personal Brand is a key factor in positioning yourself to attract the respect and the rewards you deserve.

Stand out more.  Be more Credible.

You become a much more credible and powerful presence in your company if everyone around you says similar, specific things about their impression of you.  Your Brand becomes significant and believable.

Your intentions do not equal others’ perceptions

It doesn’t matter what you think or feel, or intend to do.  Those things only matter to you.  No one else can see them.

Others can only experience what you DO.

Another hazard of leaving your Personal Brand to chance are that you can be giving negative impressions that you don’t intend.

For example, I remember once when I did a 360 review, I got low scores on being a good listener.  I was totally shocked, because I always considered myself to be a great listener.

What I learned when I dug in was that the few people I listened to, indeed thought I was a good listener, but the vast majority of my organization never observed me listening.

Build your Brand with visible behaviors

So to build my Brand as a Listener, I created more opportunities to listen.

I created office hours, and breakfast and lunch meetings with groups of individuals.  I created a website where people could give me feedback. I requested input every time I spoke.  I told people what happened as a result of getting input.

My Brand issue was not with my listening skill or intention, it was about the accessibility and visibility of listening opportunities.  I was able to build positive brand value by creating more highly visible listening opportunities on purpose.

By investing some thought and energy in building your Personal Brand on purpose you will increase your credibility and your value.

Build your Brand with My Career Workshop on DVD.