Today is Tuesday, so this post is on creating positive personal impact.
I read a lot. Often, I find great content for this blog in local and national newspapers. That’s the case for today’s post. As you know, you create positive personal impact in three ways. 1) Developing and nurturing your unique personal brand. 2) Dressing to impress. 3) Conducting yourself in a polite and respectful manner.
Sunday’s Denver Post had an interview with Mary Crane, entitled “Closing the Gaps in Office Etiquette Among Generations.” Ms. Crane is a consultant who focuses on office protocol. She says, “I am hearing and receiving a number of phone calls from people in both corporate America as well as law firms, complaining about the increasing ‘coarseness’ of the work environment.” When asked about the biggest workplace faux pas she says, “Somewhere along the line, we have forgotten the importance of saying please and thank you.”
I agree, polite people say “please and thank you.” I travel a lot, so I often get upgraded to first class. When a flight attendant asks what I would like to drink I say, “May I please have a glass of sparkling water.” When he or she brings it I always say, “Thanks a lot.”
Yesterday, on a flight from Denver to Newark, when asked what he wanted to drink, the man sitting next to me said, “water, no ice.” He didn’t even acknowledge the flight attendant when he brought the drink. We chatted a little during the flight. After a career on Wall Street, this man was now an angel investor in small tech start ups. He was a sophisticated guy, yet he didn’t take the time to say “please and thank you.” I don’t get it.
Moving on to personal branding…I always tell my executive coaching clients that if they don’t brand themselves, someone else will. In an op ed piece in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, Douglas E. Schoen began by saying, “With the Democratic nomination all but decided, it’s time for Barack Obama to start defining himself in the context of the general election – before the Republicans define him.”
This is a perfect example of the point I make about personal branding. If you don’t brand yourself, others will. And, they may brand you in a manner that is not how you would like others to think of you. In “Straight Talk for Success,” I tell the story of a smart, creative, hard working friend who got branded – incorrectly — as “immature.” This negative brand was so powerful that he found himself blocked for promotion in his company. He eventually had to leave that company and start anew. Today he is a very successful entrepreneur. He attributes some of his success to the personal brand he developed after he left the company where he had branded as immature.
Another point on branding…your brand should be built on integrity. Yesterday’s Journal had another interesting piece called “Does Being Ethical Pay?” The editors asked the question, “Will buyers actually reward good corporate behavior by paying more for products – and will they punish irresponsible behavior by paying less?” They conducted a series of experiments to get at the answers. The result? “Consumers are willing to pay a small premium for ethically produced goods. But they’ll punish an unethically made product even more harshly, by buying it only at a steep discount.”
The personal branding implications are clear. People who are seen as ethical have an advantage over people who are seen as unethical. Whether you act in an ethical manner because you think it’s the right thing to do, to gain a small advantage, or to avoid problems, the point is clear. Build your personal brand on integrity.
The common sense points here are simple. Take the time to say “please and thank you.” You’ll stand out in a world where many people don’t. Actively choose and promote your personal brand. If you don’t brand yourself, others will – and you may not like the result. Finally, build your brand on ethics and integrity. You’ll feel better about yourself, and others will notice and reward you.
That’s it for today. Thanks for reading. Log on to my website www.BudBilanich.com for more common sense and to subscribe to my weekly newsletter “Common Sense.”
I’ll see you around the web and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand, my fundraising page is still open. Please go to www.FirstGiving.com/TheCommonSenseGuy to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.