What is Your Brand?
Everything that we have discussed about products, services, experiences, and culture also applies directly to you. Your work is a product. It is a service. Your presence in the workplace is an experience for other people. You have a brand. Does your brand surprise and delight? Does your work surprise and delight?
Your internal customers are your team leader, other corporate leaders, your colleagues, and especially any person, team, or department you supply a specific work product to. Your external customers are the end users of the product or service that your organization produces and sells. Depending on what your role is, you may never meet your external customer, but you are surrounded by your internal customers every day.
It is also important to remember that you have a brand. What’s your brand? If I sat your internal customers down in a focus group setting and asked them questions about you, your work, and your participation as a team member in the organization, what would they tell me? What would be the common themes? What brand would we fall upon?
Some people are branded as the first person to leave every day. That’s their brand. They might not even know it, but that is the thing that others think about in relation to them. Other people have a brand for always making it happen. Anyone who has ever had a personal assistant knows how important this quality is, because once you pass something off to your assistant, you want to never have to think about it again. When you first start working with someone, you ask him to circle back with you and let you know that something has been done. But if that person is really good at his role, over time you just trust that if you passed it over to him, he has either taken care of it or will come back to you.
So yes, products and organizations have brands, but so do people.
We can surprise and delight our boss, the people we lead, other team members, customers, and even the whole marketplace. Everyone has a part to play in an organization’s culture; it is not solely the burden and responsibility of the CEO.
You have the power to surprise and delight. The question is, are you using it? There are a thousand ways to surprise and delight and build your personal brand each day. Help someone else meet a deadline. Go the extra mile for a customer—internal or external. Get lunch for someone who is a little more under the gun than you today. Express your appreciation to someone who partnered with you on a project. Sure, it was their responsibility, but appreciation and recognition are among the most valuable and underused currencies on the planet. Recognize someone authentically in front of their spouse, children, or parents and you have struck gold. Encourage someone who seems to be struggling. Take a few minutes to ask someone how they are doing—not surface stuff; take a real interest in a peer, colleague, or direct report as a human being completely independent of the organization’s goals and the work you do together. Offer to help. Offer to coach or mentor someone for a specific period of time or around a specific skill. Just have a good attitude. Do a bit more. Do something that needs doing even though nobody asked you to do it.
Interestingly, developing a great culture is actually a very sensible thing to do from a self-interest perspective. By adopting a surprise-and-delight attitude in everything you do at work, you are advancing your brand and career. Developing a personal brand of surprise and delight is in your best interest and an extremely clever way to ensure your place in the organization as someone who adds incredible and indispensable value.
What’s your brand?
From The Culture Solution
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