Completing your mid-year KPI
By CINDY YAP
Are you suddenly jolted by the fact that we are already in the second half of 2014? Are you hit by the realisation that the fervour of creating your New Year resolutions to-do list has either completely worn off or stagnated?
As we enter Q3, doing a self-check and reflection on how far you have come in terms of self-development, building your personal brand, career growth and other aspects are necessary, followed by steps to re-energise, recommit and be inspired to finish the year strong.
Personal brand considerations
“Personal brand”, which can be summed up as your reputation, is a concept popularised in 1997 by Tom Peters, an American writer on business management practices credited with inventing the modern management guru industry. Peters is best known for his book In Search of Excellence.
Personal brand refers to the image you portray to others and how you are perceived by those around you. It is what sets you apart; be it as an entrepreneur, leader, team player or representative of an organisation, project, idea or activity.
The concept of personal branding, also known as self-positioning, suggests that how you package yourself leads you to greater success.
In doing a mid-year review, you may consider the following:
Were you more focused on the company brand?
Without realising it, you may have been focusing more on building the company brand rather than your personal brand in the last six months.
Even when you are outside of your workplace, there is a likelihood that you may have associated yourself and who you are with your company brand.
Were you more concerned about self-promotion?
Your focus may have been centred on self-promotion rather than representing what you are able to consistently deliver to those you are serving.
Spending time focusing on yourself, using buzz words to make sure others know about your achievements and focusing on advancing your own agenda is destructive to personal branding.
In the long run, you will eventually see your value proposition dwindle as others stop buying into your story.
What sort of image did you portray to colleagues, business associates and customers?
Have you been badmouthing former or current employers on Facebook to show your displeasure at work? Or constantly posting photographs of yourself drinking and partying the night away?
With ever-increasing social media engagement, you may unknowingly be projecting a negative personal brand through your profiles on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by unwittingly allowing others to snoop on you.
Social media is becoming the digital proxies for our “real world” selves. Our personal profiles reflect our likes, dislikes and personalities, and are increasingly used by potential employers and business associates in gauging what we might be like to work with.
Your personal brand is one of your most valuable assets in an ever-evolving and competitive workplace. Therefore, investing some of your precious time on it can never go wrong. The result is something you can bring along wherever you decide to venture to, anytime during the course of your career.
Before embarking on the next six months, spend some time on the following:
1. Consider if your personal brand is sufficient
Ascertain whether the personal brand you currently own is enough for you to be able to quickly differentiate yourself from many others who are the same, if not better, in branding.
2. Be self-aware
The process of building your own personal brand is also a process of self-discovery of your personality traits, which makes you unique and valuable. It helps you understand your own strengths, skills, passion and values and thereafter, enable you to optimise these strengths to your advantage.
3. Believe in yourself
Self-belief, coupled with a strong sense of self-worth, is a necessary element and a key component in building your personal brand successfully.
What you think and envision plays a large role in determining the outcome as you will find yourself taking action to achieve your vision, whether in becoming who you wish to become and achieving what you desire.
Always believe that what you can achieve is as limitless as your imagination.
One fine example of a person whose self-belief was unshakeable despite extenuating circumstances is Steve Jobs.
Although given up for adoption at birth, Jobs turned the impossible into reality and overcame a big hurdle in self-confidence to become the architect of many successful Apple products.
As far as branding is concerned, the brand positioning of the Apple market was almost an extension of Jobs’ personal branding, i.e. cool, progressive, sleek, intelligent and unconventional, which he embraced down to his business wardrobe.
4. Differentiate yourself
Marketing is all about differentiation, and it is the same when it comes to marketing yourself. Personal branding helps you differentiate yourself from your peers. The differentiating factor could be in the form of your personality, dressing style, passion for work, working style, work ethic or customer service.
By differentiating yourself, you seek to determine and highlight your unique features and what sets you apart from your peers. The factors that you set your mind on must be those which work best for you, and those which excite and rejuvenate you.
5. Be proactive
Once you have ascertained your unique attributes, communicate this information on what makes you unique and relevant to your target audience by networking and reaching out.
Spend some time to assess and define your personal brand, as well as to seriously ponder who you are, what you represent and how you should create interest, visibility and presence in order to achieve your goals.
A strong and authentic personal brand helps you become known for what you are good at. This can then position you as a niche expert. A comprehensive communications plan should be developed based on your style, attributes and preferences.
7. Leverage social media platforms
Studies suggest that a person’s Facebook page can predict job performance and academic success. Social media has been perceived to be a fairly accurate reflection of how good a person is, both personally and professionally.
Through one’s personal profile, we may be able to gauge qualities such as one’s degree of emotional stability, conscientiousness, extroversion, intellectual curiosity and agreeableness.
If social media is where your ideal audience hangs out, capitalise on it to boost your personal brand. Be alert of your personal settings and red flags you may reveal to your friends and followers.
8. Be yourself
Your personal brand has to be a true reflection of who you really are. Only then are you able to reflect your brand in everything you do, including your personal network, office environment, social networking, appearance and extra-curricular activities.
Truly love what you do and the personal image which defines you. Focus on being more of who you naturally are and want to be. Only by doing so can the people around you feel the passion and positive energy that you unleash.
9. Take time off to rejuvenate your mind, body and soul
Taking vacations will benefit your personal brand in many ways. It not only helps broaden your horizons, but allows you to rest, renew, regroup, re-evaluate and redefine who you are.
Time away from the norm and exposure to new ideas, activities and people out of your usual circle will stimulate your brain, and provide you new perspectives and opportunities to learn and grow to keep your brand fresh.
Meeting new people also gives you the opportunity to try out new ways of expressing your personal brand and possibly exploring another side of it.
Our mind, body and soul work in unison for our health and well-being. Therefore, taking care of the mind, body and soul aligns us with positive thoughts and energy.
Aim to eat healthily and exercise regularly to gain added energy and a renewed spirit to achieve your desired goals.
“Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called YOU.” – Tom Peters
Therefore, let us refresh our enthusiasm, get our personal brand rejuvenated and target to complete this year according to how we had originally aimed.