Building Personal Brand Value and Recognition



This month’s Professional Development webinar was on the topic of Personal Brand and Recognition.

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If you are wanting to get the opportunities and recognition you deserve get this webinar

You’ll learn how to:

  • Build your credibility
  • Stand out more
  • Get the recognition and opportunities you deserve
  • Position yourself to win the job you want

Get the webinar

If you missed it you can download the recording.

Members of my professional development program can

Here is what we talked about:

Be Visible, but not Annoying

You need to find a way to stand out. Don’t just wait to be recognized and appreciated because you are working hard.

Hard work does not stand on its own. You might think that is unfair, and you are probably right. But that is reality.

Everyone is too busy to figure out and admire your good work.

You need to be visible. You cannot build your credibility if you are invisible — and you will be passed over for promotions if you are invisible.

In the webinar we talked about how to build your visibility and credibility in an authentic, high-value, and non-annoying way.

Getting the job you want

Many people ask me for advice about breaking into a new group, function, or industry. It’s hard to do because you are not known by those people, nor do you have the experience that your competition might have.

But it’s not impossible.

The way to think about getting any job you want is that you need to be the obvious choice.

But, right now you are not being considered or even noticed for those roles.

So you need do to the right things to build, tune and develop your brand and to form new relationships to enable you to be seen as the obvious choice.

In the webinar I shared several ideas for how to do this.

Building Credibility

The two principal ways to build credibility are through your communications and through your work outcomes.

We talked about how to tune your daily behaviors in each of these areas so that you are steadily increasing your credibility and positioning yourself for the future you desire.

How you execute and how you share your work are critical to adding value to your Personal Brand.

The webinar:

I put together this webinar to give you ideas and specific techniques for building your brand in a way that it sets you up for the career outcomes you want.

In this webinar you will learn:

  • 3 Ways to change or up-level your brand
  • 2 things you need to do to win the job you want
  • How to be visible, but not annoying
  • To build credibility and reputation day to day in your work
  • To communicate effectively with stakeholders

The webinar is loaded with valuable resources

The worksheets and templates in this webinar are useful for assessing and tuning your brand, and planning your communications.

Members: Download this webinar for free

Non Members: You can purchase this individual webinar or podcast (links below).

More, useful webinars for motivating your team:

As a member, just around this topic of metrics, execution and team performance you can get these other related webinars:

So if you are not yet a member, you might as well join and get them all for free!

Join Now
Join Now.

Let me be your mentor

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Members of the Azzarello Group program for Professional Development basically get me as their mentor.

Every month you get new insights and tools in the form of these webinars, as well as the chance to call into a monthly members-only coaching hour where you can get direct personal coaching from me.

People tell me that membership gives them a totally new way of thinking about their career, getting promotions, solving difficult problems with bosses, peers, employees, and other annoying people, communicating better, being more influential, becoming a stronger leader, and enjoying their work more. I love to hear this, and I love to help!

If you join now, you’ll not only get this webinar, but all the other webinars in the Member Library.

AND you’ll get the opportunity to participate in monthly Coaching Hour conference calls with me.
Check out what we talk about.

AND as a member you’ll get to download your copy of the Career Year of action Guide (a $30 value) for free.

Membership to Azzarello Group is a great resource (and a steal at $179 for a whole year) to help you advance your career.

Join Now
Join Now

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Purchase just this webinar ($19.99)
Purchase just this podcast ($9.99)

What do you think?

Join the conversation about this on my Facebook page Patty Azzarello Practical Business Advice for Humans.


About Patty
patty blog image crop

Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at www.AzzarelloGroup.com, follow her on twitter or facebook

When you can’t get enough resources to deliver what is expected


Precarious Lead; Wall Street, UT

The challenge: Resources are cut AND work is added

This problem has been coming up a lot recently in my coaching hour conference calls, so I wanted to share some advice here.

They way this is often stated is:

“My company has downsized, but now my team has been given the work of other teams that no longer exist. We’re expected to handle the extra work, but we were already overloaded. There is no one to take on the new work, yet management is expecting us to to get it done.”

Don’t undermine yourself with tireless work

It’s important to realize that simply taking on the unreasonable workload by asking everyone to work 24×7 is not the right approach. You need to remember that your company can absorb an unlimited amount of work from you without really noticing or caring about the impact it is having on you and your team.

If you keep everyone working around the clock and manage to get most of the work done, you are only proving that you don’t need more resources.

You need a strategy to re-define the workload and share the problem.

Here are some steps that will help you.

1. Determine if there is a new way to do the work

If, for example, you team was supporting 50 customers with 15 people, and now you are being asked to support 150 customers with 15 people, it’s clear that doing the support the same way will not work. But are there systems you could put in place to scale how you do the work? Automation, self service, better documentation, community support functionality, etc.

Your management may not be expecting you to simply do more work, but to re-invent the way the work is done.

It’s always important to think through this step and find ways to improve the process if possible.

But… if you’ve exhausted those possibilities and the workload is simply un-doable, then you need to move to the next step of changing the conversation about the work to reflect the reality.

2. Show the size of the hole you are in

Sometimes executives will assign a pile of work and have no idea what is actually involved in doing it.

If they give you an impossible workload on top of an already challenging workload, if they do not see the reality of the situation, they will expect that you can simply absorb the extra work.

To show the reality, create something that looks kind of like this chart below.

Show the actual state vs. the desired state. And if you have data about competitors it’s helpful to include it.

By showing this picture you are communicating in a credible way that there is more to be done to achieve the outcome they are asking for than they realize.

Status Reality

3. Share the problem

I see leaders often put all the pressure on themselves to try to do the impossible without the necessary resources, and feel like they are personally failing when it can’t be done.

This is not your problem alone.

This is a choice that the company needs to make.

Your job is to shine the spotlight on clearly defined choices.

The idea you need to communicate is that this un-doable workload is putting the business at risk. “WE need to collectively decide what we are willing to tolerate in terms of deliverables and risk, and agree on a set of doable outcomes and priorities”.

The way to do this is to provide choices and options.

4. Show the true cost of options..

You need to give the management choices for different levels of outcomes that have different levels of cost.

Create a chart that shows different levels of investment with their associated outcomes. Then engage your executives in choosing the level. If they choose a low funding level, they will get the amount of work that’s possible at that level.

OK, if you don’t increase my budget, we can add one item, but we can’t add most of the competitive features. If that’s the funding choice you make, this is what you will get.

If they want great, complete, best in class work, or very low risk, they can get that only with a higher level of funding.

The chart looks something like this:

Budget Options

Don’t set yourself up for failure. Don’t accept the line of reasoning that you are just supposed to be able to absorb an unlimited amount of extra work with the same number of people, and keep delivering at the same level and scope of quality, excellence and completeness.

If you show the reality and share the problem, you are still building credibility by showing that you can do the complete job, but you are not shooting yourself in the foot by signing up to do it without enough resources.

If you are facing this issue, you are not alone. This is a very common leadership challenge, and it’s up to you to navigate it in such a way that you can create success for the business without killing yourself and your team in the process!

I talk more about this in chapter 5 of my book MOVE: Resource Reality. That chapter ends with, “What if you show them all the choices and they don’t give you the extra money, and tell you to do it anyway?”. That leads to Chapter 6: Don’t sign up for the impossible.

You can get your copy of MOVE or download a preview:

What do you think?

Join the conversation about this on my facebook page.

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About Patty
patty blog image crop

Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at www.AzzarelloGroup.com, follow her on twitter or facebook

The opposite of Asshole is not “Weak Person”


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My secret weapon for achieving success

I am preparing to deliver a TED talk at the TEDx Navasink Conference on May 20 in Asbury Park, NJ!
…and it got me thinking about the ideas of Power and Weakness in business.

(By the way, if you want to attend, you can register here.)

My secret weapon…

I’m going to be talking about my secret weapon for achieving unlikely corporate success… having grown up in a small farm town in rural NJ, and (as a woman) ultimately becoming a Silicon Valley CEO. This as you might imagine, was not a direct, well marked path!

At the core of my secret weapon was the willingness to show up at work as my true self, instead of being tempted to put on a facade of a more business like, more impressive, more important-seeming, executive persona. See also Stop trying to be impressive.

I’ll tell stories about how being willing to put my real self out there and to have real, unstructured conversations with others (while it sometimes felt risky or scary) created surprising and remarkable outcomes.

What about the bullies?

When I tell people what I am going to be talking about, some say to me, “You can’t tell people that!!! Corporations are competitive and nasty. You need to be competitive and nasty too if you want to survive.”

The non-asshole route

I used to think so too. But took a different route.

I was very lucky early in my career to have two mentors and role models (both men), who were both very successful and powerful business people, but who were also kind and authentic people who treated everyone with respect no matter what their position.

Their example gave me the confidence to pursue the authentic, respectful route. And it worked for me.

But as I prepared for this talk, it struck me that many people are afraid to show a kind, authentic persona because they fear that they will appear weak at work.

Many people believe that their true self is just not big enough or strong enough somehow, so they feel pressured to put on a more harsh, business-like, persona.

The Narcissists

It can be confusing to watch the narcissist bullies, appearing to be so strong and getting ahead. At times, I too was afraid that I could not compete with them.

But I also realized that that was not a path for me.

I didn’t attempt to be like them, mostly because I did not have the skills to do it!

It takes a certain kind of talent to create and manage a false, impressive, alter-ego, work persona. You need to be a really good actor. And to really commit to the part!

And I didn’t have the stomach to treat others as inferior simply because they were below me in the organization.

So I just decided to be myself with confidence and treat others with respect. And to have real, open, unstructured conversations with them, whether they were employees, peers, stakeholders, or bosses.

Authentic IS powerful

Eventually I realized that being your authentic self is actually the best way to come across as most powerful and credible — because authenticity will always be more powerful than good acting.

I talk to so many leaders who confess to me, “I worry that I’m not am enough of an asshole. I’m not sure I am tough enough on people”. Really, people ask me this.

While you certainly can be a narcissistic, egomaniac, asshole and get ahead in business — it’s not a requirement!

The opposite of asshole is not “weak person”. The opposite of asshole is strong, genuine and respectful.

The more I think about leadership, the more I realize that good, effectively leadership IS hard. It’s not an easy job. It is by no means a job for the weak.

Leadership is hard job that you absolutely can succeed at as a strong, good person.

A good leader will make tough decisions
A good leader will have the difficult conversations
A good leader will resolve conflicts
A good leader will make scary resource tradeoffs
A good leader will face obstacles and overcome them
A good leader will help others get through the difficult and boring parts
A good leader will be accountable for their choices and behaviors

These are not the traits of a weak person.

Even stronger

Good leaders are strong people, probably even stronger than the assholes.

Just because you are not acting like a bully, doesn’t mean you are not strong. Remember the bullies are the ones who are not strong — that’s why they are bullies.

If you want to be a good person, you can still be a strong and effective business leader.
Don’t let the existing examples of asshole behavior we can all see make you feel like you need to be that way too.

What do you think?

Join the conversation about this on my Facebook page Patty Azzarello Practical Business Advice for Humans.


About Patty
patty blog image crop

Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at www.AzzarelloGroup.com, follow her on twitter or facebook

The Key to Influence: Make your Voice Bigger


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Influence and Difficult People

The topic of how to influence difficult people, comes up in my work all the time. (At all levels.)

One of the most useful tools in the influence tool kit is to make your voice bigger.

What I mean by this is to never get into a situation where it’s your opinion vs. someone else’s opinion.

If you are only arguing with your own voice, your own idea, your own opinion, you are missing a source of power that can change the game entirely.

When you are in the situation where you know you are right and what you are recommending is really important, it can be very frustrating when no one is supporting you.

“Why should we listen to YOU?”

Many years ago, early in my career when I had a job as a product manager, I stumbled into a disagreement with the product development team.

One day I went to the group of product developers who were all sitting a room finishing a meeting and said,

“Do you have a minute to discuss the next product release? I wanted to let you know that we need to make a change to the user interface to say [a different thing], so that customers will not be confused anymore.”

In the grand scheme of things, this was a very small change in terms of scope, effort, and reason for controversy.

However, instead of the expected answer of, “OK”, I was confronted with,

“And who are you, that you think you can tell us what to put into the product?”

Sadly, my answer of “I’m the product manager,” held no weight with them.

They replied instead, “What makes you think you are smarter than we are?”

So my reply was this:

I do not think I am smarter than you are. I certainly hope I am not smarter than you are! Because we’re all counting on you to be brilliant.

But in my role as a product manager, it’s my job to talk to customers. In the past 6 weeks, I’ve talked to 75 customers and 71 of them pretty much insisted that we make this change to the UI, because it was causing so much confusion in their organizations.

What makes you think you are smarter than 71 paying customers?

They made the change.

What if the difficult person is your boss?

Sometimes the person blocking you is your boss. This can be really frustrating.

I have had a saying for a long time:

Never blame your failure on the fact that your boss is stupid

If your boss is blocking you, and your boss is wrong, don’t let your career get damaged by a their bad decision. But also remember that you don’t win against your boss.

If the disagreement is between just you and your boss, and you know in your heart that your career will suffer more if you agree with your boss than if you hold your ground, you need to find a way forward.

But going forward without the support of your boss and hoping they will come to appreciate what you did when it is finished, is a very risky strategy.

By employing the voices of others, you can create much more support for your idea and garner enough influence to help your boss to see the way forward.

Making your voice bigger

Never just use your own voice in an argument.

Find others to strengthen it.

It might be customers. It might be peers of the person. It might be others in the organization. It might be the assistant to the executive or the spouse!

I will tell you that I have employed all of these people at one time or another in my career to help make my voice bigger.

It’s not about being right personally. It’s about getting the right result.

And very often it requires a chorus of people to be saying something to create influence with a difficult person.

What do you think?

Join the conversation about this on my Facebook page Patty Azzarello Practical Business Advice for Humans.


About Patty
patty blog image crop

Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at www.AzzarelloGroup.com, follow her on twitter or facebook

Meeting your new boss for the first time? Get it right


Close-up picture of the Brooklyn Bridge cables in Brooklyn, New york, 2009.

You have a new boss…how do you make a good impression?

When you get an opportunity to meet your new boss, what should you do? This question comes up frequently in my member coaching hours, so I thought I would address it in a blog.

Your goals:

First think about what you are trying to accomplish.

Here’s a list to get you started:

  • Stand out
  • Don’t be annoying
  • Be helpful
  • Be welcome for the next meeting

Think about how your new boss feels in this moment.

Start by putting yourself in their position.

How would you feel if you were new in this job, meeting dozens if not hundreds of people, trying to learn what you need to learn as fast as possible, and trying to share your point of view in a credible way?

What would be most useful to you, and What would be most annoying to you?

It’s important to remember that your meeting and conversation is one of a gazillion that he or she will be having while coming up to speed. And it’s also important to remember your boss is a human, who is probably tired, stressed and also trying to make a good impression.

DO’s and DONT’s

First, here are some DONT’s:

Don’t: Provide a long anything. Long meetings, long descriptions, long documents. It’s exhausting and not useful. Your story is only important to you in this moment. Don’t share too much.

Don’t: Make urgent requests or demands. They just walked in the door. It’s not the time to ask for stuff.

Don’t: Insist they explain their thoughts or strategies if they are not ready. Let them share as much as they want, but don’t push them for more information in the first meeting.

(By the way, I’ve had people do all of these things when meeting me as their boss for the first time. It was indeed annoying, and not useful.)

Here are some DO’s:

Here are DO’s to help you stand out in a positive way and add some value in that first meeting.

Be well informed

Don’t go to this first meeting without doing some homework.

Never ask your new boss for information about them that is readily available online. That is just wasting their time.

Do your best to learn what is important to your new boss before the meeting and use that as the context for everything you say.

Ask their assistant, ask others who have talked to them. Look online to learn their key accomplishments, and opinions and see if there are common themes they have written about.

Be curious

Now you’ve already got some information from having done your homework, but it’s also good to ask them about their plans and thoughts.

Ask, “What are you thinking is most important right now for moving the business forward? What are the biggest issues you see? What are the most important things that need your team to understand right now?”

If they are ready to talk about it, ask good questions but resist the urge to voice any disagreements in this first meeting. Resist the urge to tell them everything that you know.

This first meeting is about building rapport.

If you have concerns about what you are hearing, take notes, then go away and think about how you want to react or respond. But don’t do it in this first meeting, just listen.

Share your information efficiently – Translate

Once you know what is important to them, from your homework and your initial conversation, then you can translate how you talk about your work and your role to connect to something that is important to them.

For example, if you learn that they are driving to improve profit margins in the legacy business in parallel with an innovative new investment, tune everything you say to be part of one of those things.

Whether you are in Marketing, R&D, Supply Chain management, Sales, Finance…

Whatever your function, your story about what your team does should have the frame of the business drivers your new boss cares about.

What you share should not be a list of things in your function, full of your project names, jargon and acronyms. In this example what ever you say about your work should have the frame of improving profit margins on legacy or supporting the new investment.

And make sure to be brief!

Whatever you share, put it on one page. The time it takes to thoughtfully turn a huge pile of information into one page will be very worth it.

Don’t add weight

(Don’t give your new boss problems or questions in the first meeting)

If you have been anxiously waiting for your new boss to arrive to make decisions or resource approvals, don’t use this first meeting to ask.

The goal of this first meeting, like any other first networking meeting is to get invited back for another meeting.

If you start asking for things in the first meeting you are adding weight to the load your new boss is already carrying, which is heavy by definition.

You are much better off to share your plans in an inspiring way, translated and connected to the initiatives they already know about and care about. Then ask if you can have another meeting to discuss key elements of your plan later.

A wise mentor of mine taught me, you need to have the first meeting before you have the second meeting.

Unless your new boss asks you in that first meeting, “Is there anything specific that you need from me?”, don’t start asking in the first meeting.

Be helpful

(take weight away)

Offer to help. You can ask, “As you start this new role is there anything I can do to help you? Is there information I can collect for you? Are there any tasks that I can take off your plate?”

If you make your first impression as someone who is well informed, is already investing energy in the initiatives your new boss cares about because you talked about your work with the right frame, and offer to help, instead of giving them extra work, you will be seen as someone who doesn’t add weight. You’ll be seen as someone who takes weight away.

And as someone who doesn’t add weight, you will be invited back. You will stand out. You will be someone your new boss has time for.

My new book MOVE is about decisively executing strategy

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Download a FREE Preview of MOVE

In my years of leading business transformations and turnarounds, building highly successfull management teams, and working with countless clients to implement their strategies, I have determined what factors enable faster, more decisive execution, and reduce risk.

It’s all in the book! I can’t wait to share it!

Available in Feb: But you can pre-order!

Pre-order MOVE here

Or if you’d like to pre-order a copy for everyone on your team, contact us for bulk-order discounts.

ABOUT PATTY:

patty blog image
Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor.
She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at www.AzzarelloGroup.com, follow her on twitter or Facebook, or read her book RISE…3 Practical Steps for Advancing Your Career, Standing Out as a Leader, AND Liking Your Life.