The June 2011 SUCCESS Magazine arrived over the weekend. As you know, I’m a big fan of SUCCESS. It has tons of great common sense career success advice. If you’re not already a subscriber, I suggest you go to http://www.success.com and subscribe as soon as you finish reading this post.
The new issue has a small story called “5 Tips for Creating a Powerful Personal Brand.” I think that a powerful personal brand is the first step in creating positive personal impact – a key ingredient in your career success mix.
The article lists these five keys for building your brand…
- Brand yourself through your professional presence.
- Brand yourself as a valued partner.
- Brand yourself with strong communication skills.
- Brand yourself by staying one step ahead.
- Brand yourself as being social savvy.
I do have one additional common sense personal branding tip to add though…
Brand yourself as a person of integrity.
Tweet 62 in Success Tweets says… “Your personal brand should be unique to you, but build on integrity. Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking.” Like all of the tweets, this is simple common sense.
According to Wikipedia, “Integrity is consistency of actions, values, methods, measures and principles.” Integrity and consistency are intertwined. People who are consistent in their actions are seen as people with a high degree of integrity.
Oprah says, “Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.” This is true. If you practice situational ethics – doing the right thing only when you’re in the public eye — you aren’t really a person of high integrity, you’re just pretending to be one.
Besides, it’s hard to act one way in public, and another in private. So to be safe, resolve to act like Oprah. Do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do – not because you’ll get credit, or avoid getting into trouble.
John Maxwell is a well-known business author. One of his books sends the same message. It’s called, There’s No Such Thing As Business Ethics: There’s Only One Rule for Making Decisions. According to John, that rule is the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In other words, do the right thing.
There’s a practical side to this too. Mark Twain once said, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” In other words, if you’re always a person of high integrity, it’s easy to be a person of high integrity; there are no complicating factors – like remembering what you did or said in a given situation; more common sense.
Polonius gave similar advice to Hamlet. “To thine own self be true, and it must follow as the day the night, thou canst be false to no man.” Roy Blackman, my father in law, passed away a few years ago. This quote was his epitaph. It was on the program handed out at his funeral. Roy embodied it in how he lived his life. It was the only piece of advice he gave his grandson, Matt, as he went off to college.
Oprah, John Maxwell, Mark Twain and Shakespeare are all in agreement on one common sense piece of career advice. If you want to become known as a person of high integrity – and I believe integrity is the cornerstone of any personal brand – act as a person of high integrity all the time; not just when it suits you, or when someone might notice.
Here’s a story to illustrate this point. Cathy, my wife, was a flight attendant for 36 years. Seniority is a very important thing in the airline industry. It governs how you bid for trips, positions on the airplane and vacations – almost anything important to a flight attendant’s quality of work life.
Cathy was very active in her union. And seniority was one of the union’s most sacred principles. A few years before she retired, Cathy’s airline made a big push into the international market. International flights were plum assignments; they went to people with high seniority.
However, the airline realized that it would be to their advantage to have some flight attendants who spoke the language of the country to which they were flying on these international flights. Most senior flight attendants in her airline spoke English only. The airline proposed putting two “language speakers” on each international flight. Many people, including Cathy, were upset with this arrangement as they felt it violated the seniority concept.
Cathy used to fly from the US to London. One day I said to her, “This whole language speaker issue doesn’t really affect you. You fly to London; there are no language speakers on those flights. Why do you care so much?” She said, “I believe in the concept of seniority. It doesn’t matter if I’m affected by language speakers. It’s the principle of the thing.” That’s consistency – and integrity — in action; and a great career success model.
The career success coach point here is simple common sense. Creating positive personal impact is an important career success competency. You create positive personal impact by developing and nurturing your unique personal brand, being impeccable in your presentation of self, and knowing and following the basic rules of etiquette. Your personal brand should be uniquely you, but it should be built on integrity. Follow the career advice in Tweet 62 in Success Tweets. “Your personal brand should be uniquely you, but built on integrity. Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking.” Arnold Schwazanegger’s revelations yesterday demonstrates how a lack of integrity can lead to serious consequences for a carefully crafted brand. Take a lesson from Arnold. Build your personal brand and your career success on integrity.
That’s my career advice on personal branding – especially the importance of integrity to your brand. What do you think? Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment. As always, thanks for reading my daily musings on life and career success. I value you and I appreciate you.
PS: If you haven’t already done so, you can download a free copy of my latest career advice book Success Tweets Explained. It’s a whopping 390 + pages of careersuccess advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail. Go to http://budurl.com/STExp to claim your free copy.