Reinvent you

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Reinvent you

The reasons vary, but at some point in your executive career, you’ll need to reinvent yourself. Whether you want to advance more rapidly in your organisation, switch into a different kind of job or move to a new city, you must reinvent yourself by building on your unique talents and drawing on your passions.

To change successfully in today’s competitive job market – particularly in the current environment – you’ll need to rebrand yourself, in other words, reinvent you.

Key concept

There is no single path to career success, rather there’s a multiplicity of ways to grow, the linchpin of which is your personal brand (1).

When you are out of the room and other executives are talking about you, what do they say? She’s a top marketing strategist. As CFO, he’s a safe pair of hands for us. She’s a capable leader in our team.

But what if you want to make a major career move like those in the first paragraph? You’ll need a make-over, a different ‘set of clothes, reinvention of your personal brand. Moreover, you’ll need to persuade others to embrace the new you.

The process of personal branding involves finding your uniqueness, building a reputation on the things for which you want to be recognised and then communicating yourself in ways that get you remembered for them.

Not managing your personal brand consigns you to limbo land, a success of dwindling relevance and a relic of what you could have achieved as the world moves on. Personal branding is a must for every executive who seeks to fulfil their potential, feel satisfied and be well rewarded for their success. It’s not just for organisational power-seekers and celebrities.

Applying the concept

Follow these four steps to build your personal brand…

  • Define what you want to be known for. If you don’t stand for something new, you’ll continue as the old you. Dot-point what you want people to say about the new you. Identify the new skills, knowledge and attributes you need to develop and plan how you will acquire them. This takes time, enjoy the journey.
  • Craft your story to differentiate yourself. Write out and refine your unique value proposition; what is it that sets you apart. Use how you act and what you say to communicate your story. Rehearse it over and over again. Watch people’s reactions. Improve and sharpen every aspect of your story.
  • (Re)introduce yourself. Introducing your new brand in a new network is easy; reintroducing yourself to your existing network is harder. The key lies in ensuring all the points at which you touch your network consistently reflect the new you. Ways to do this include: behaving differently on-the-job, expanding your role, taking on a new project, moving to another role, changing department or organisation. Above-all to shape others’ perceptions, speak as you want to be heard and behave as you want to be seen.
  • Demonstrate your worth. The best evidence of your new brand lies in finding opportunities to exercise new skills, share new knowledge and contribute and behave with nuanced differences. And then project your new personal brand to wider audiences through social media like LinkedIn.

A personal brand ultimately reflects how others see you. You can choose what you put ‘on view’ by reinventing you. And if you persist you can be everything you are plus everything people believe you to be.

More on this topic

  1. I have paraphrased Cathy Benko, Vice-Chair of Deloitte LLP and author of Corporate Lattice
  2. This post draws inspiration from Dorie Clark’s Reinventing You (2013) Harvard Business School
  3. My post You are no longer a person; you are a brand

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This post was written by Dr Margaret Beaton, a director of Beaton Executive Coaching and Beaton Research + Consulting. You can also find Margaret on LinkedIn.