Posts Tagged personal brand

Personal or Professional: Why not both?

Posted by on Thursday, 3 April, 2014

934897_10200977113927595_398103035_nWhen it comes to social business, there’s little difference between “social media” and “real life”.

Social media has blurred the lines of professional versus personal. Some businesses, like LinkedIn, have attempted to clarify those lines once again by focusing on one side or the other. However, that intended focus isn’t concrete and still causes some blurring to occur. Because of this, I am often asked whether it is advisable for a person to maintain only a single mixed account, or to manage separate personal and professional accounts on sites like twitter, Facebook, tumblr, and Googleplus.

While the general advice is to do what you are comfortable with, I definitely urge to one side of that spectrum and have posted previously on the topic of managing digital personas.

Social media is different from “real life” in one very important way, however: there is no distinction between work and play. Because of this, it is best to think of social business not in terms of work, but rather to see social business as an after-hours cocktail party. This analogy plays out as conversation during cocktail parties runs the gamut of topics from professional to personal; because it is more social than work, the atmosphere is more relaxed, less professional, but can be focused on business or personal endeavors as the conversation flows. In this way, social media provides a virtual platform to engage in conversation at any level with which you are comfortable.

To best use this dynamic in social business, I find it most effective to maintain a single identity. In any of the spaces in which I play, I am simply me. The conversation can take many different directions at any given time, which both provides for a broader scope of topics in which my networks may be interested, as well as build some sense of humanity which a flat professional presence wouldn’t provide. In my experiences, it is that depth of humanity in social media which really builds the connection and relationships in social business that become valuable down the lines as business needs arise and opportunities present themselves.

So when I am asked what my recommendation is, I say: be yourself. Do what you are comfortable with, but do it in an authentic and human way.

 

My top 5 strengths- redux

Posted by on Thursday, 17 January, 2013

gallup_top5Thanks to the wonders of the hive-mind, I’ve found a suitable solution to my prior post on my top 5 strengths and the difficulties I encountered when going to share them through a blog post. Previously, I’d been unable to locate any content that was shareable to provide context around my top 5 themes. From the strength finder site where I obtained my results, everything that provided this greater context and understanding of definitions was locked behind a paid and copyrighted report labeled unshareable by the terms of use.

Well, my friend and business partner @coreybowers came to the rescue and quickly located the definitions I was seeking. While still protected by copyright, I can now link off to each one in a publicly accessible way to provide that context to discussion that makes blog posts like this more relevant and valuable. I urge you to click-through and read the explanations for each term to help my own opinion and thought on the strengths become a bit more clear to you. Before I continue, I will say that I believe Gallup has some confused business strategies, or at best is not enabling the sharing of contextual information like it could from their strengths finder site and is hindering their business more than helping it. Sharing is caring, folks… make it easy to share and your content will spread. Make it difficult and only people like me who are bound and determined to share will find a (legal and ethical) way, the rest just won’t bother.

Without further ado, here are my previously identified strengths with definitions and context behind the links, and further discussion from my own perspective in the bullets below:

  • Relator: It is no surprise to me that this was the strength in the first slot. Interpersonal relationship have always been deeply critical for me and a source of nearly all of my success in business and in life. Because of this strength I am often asked my opinion, though I admittedly share it even before I can be asked in many situations. What really spoke to me, however, was the reliance on character and personality than status or job title, a trait I’ve carried with me long before I ever entered the corporate world, and one which while seen as a strength here has also likely cause me problems in advancement, or at least what others may see as problems. Sometimes labeled insubordination, I prefer to think of it as engaged discussion and collaboration between people who hold differing opinion. Still, one of my driving traits is the need and desire to help others succeed in their own goals, which is also one of the key points of this strength.

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  • Intellection: I’d be hard pressed to consider myself an intellectual, but this particular strength really calls out one of those traits in my personality that can be often misunderstood: my desire to think. Often that manifests in debate as I work to learn by talking through what I believe to be correct, and expect others to show me better ideas by supporting arguments with fact and information. As a Myers-Briggs INTJ/ENTJ, this strength also manifests during my introspective moments needed to either discover my own ideas or recharge from my more extroverted moments. While the thought process is indeed energizing at times, the constant din of thought does feel to me like constant audible conversation may feel to others. I also try to surround myself with people, friends, whom I consider smarter than I am, which also can manifest in misunderstood personality traits of others perceiving me to be haughtier than I am. Specifically I believe if I have figured out something, then surely everyone else has as well since I only surround myself with people who are smarter than I; an obvious flaw in an otherwise pleasing strength.

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  • Empathy: This is likely the one strength I may not totally agree with. I don’t think I have a talent for sensing other people’s feelings. Often I feel quite the opposite that I have no idea of what others are feeling or thinking. I do, however, think I have a good sense of being able to place myself in a consumer’s role and help see flaws in design or user experiences where others may not have thought about use cases I can see. Given the questions in the assessment, I think my business focus here skewed this result a bit towards more of a social personality trait than I actually exhibit, though I do agree that I can often hear the unasked questions and anticipate some level of need. The downside here is my inclination to not remain silent when at times I should.

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  • Command: The empathy strength noted I should partner with someone who has a strong command theme. I guess that means me 😉 The first line of this should sound very familiar to my friends, in that they all know I have little compunction with imposing my view on others. I never thought that would be seen as a strength! To me, this plays directly into my preference for open, honest, and transparent communication. And sometimes that does come off as intimidating, or so I’ve heard whisper of. Truly not my intent, but a side effect of combining a mild take-charge attitude with my inclination to use debate as a learning tool from my intellection strength. While I reel at the idea of being intimidating, holding back is even more damaging to me as I work to drive what I believe to be right.

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  • Deliberative: With empathy being the strength I doubt the most, Deliberative is the one I agree with the most. This one manifests itself as ‘negativity’ or being a ‘detractor’, when in reality it is just my strength at pointing out risks and mitigating factors that I don’t believe had been thought of. I can only smile in agreement when it is pointed out that this strength has me saying what I believe is correct regardless of potential impact upon my own reputation, all too true. In fact, it is the one instance where I likely don’t take the deliberative view and protect myself, but rather push forward for the right thing regardless of the risk to myself. And yes, I rarely dole out praise or recognition; another trait which has likely caused me issue professionally, but one I am aware of and have made deliberate strives towards changing.

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The Gallup Strengths Finder is $9.99 to take the assessment and unlock your top 5 strengths like I’ve shown above. With that you gain access to 3 reports containing similar but different information and organized for differing purposes such as action planning and full descriptions of each theme. You also gain access to their action planning tool and certificate generator. For an additional $89.00 you can unlock all 34 strengths and relative ranking which not only shows your top strengths, but your bottom strengths as well. From discussing the full report with others who have accessed theirs, it seems that the access to those bottom strengths can be just as beneficial and helpful as identifying your top 5. Personally, I’m not sold on the benefit to cost ratio of the full 34 report, but feel that the top 5 for only ten dollars was an expense well worth the professional improvement it could provide. If you opt to invest in yourself and open the top five report, I’d love to compare/contrast our results and learn more about each other.

 

A brief musing on personal branding versus personal life…

Posted by on Monday, 2 August, 2010

There’s been a large amount of chatter recently surrounding the concept of ‘personal brands’. Specifically with regards to social media, it has been said that building a personal brand is an important aspect of achieving success in the industry. This is something I’ve been contemplating recently, as I’d like to further my success in this space, but at the same time I don’t wish to alienate any real life friends with tailored tweets intended to build my personal brand professionally.

The problem, it seems to me, is that a drive towards building my own personal brand would likely conflict with the authenticity of my personal voice in the social media spaces. Building a brand would mean more work centric posts, causing a reduced following (or at least less of a reach) with my present audience of real-life friends with whom I connect via social media outlets to stay in touch on a personal if not slightly passive level. So, which is greater? Authenticity or branding?

Or, perhaps, I am thinking about this all wrongly…. since I am more focused (professionally speaking) on using social media in a -support- context, maybe the centralized account I currently maintain is more appropriate than an individual account with personal branding. After all, few of my personal followers really care about support material coming out of my work space. While some of my followers -are- interested in support content, that isn’t the reason they are following -ME-. Perhaps the answer I am looking for here is to build my brand based on my own authenticity, and drive visibility to the other channels while maintaining my own voice in my own space. One account working to help the other, or more specifically, working in tandem.

I think when it comes to support contexts, personal branding is irrelevant unless you are an SME (subject matter expert) within a very particular space. In the larger scope of providing another direct channel to locate timely information, centralized accounts are going to be the best best as clearing houses of content. As my role is within Knowledge Management, my subject matter expertise runs at a higher level than what a single client may be looking for in terms of product support, therefore negating any need for a client to follow me specifically, and more of a need for that same client to follow our centralized support account to stay informed.

Hmmm. I think I just talked my way through continuing to do what I/we have been doing already 🙂