Innovate or Die

In today’s fast-paced economy, a good idea isn’t enough. Not only do you have to roll with the punches that modern-day tech is throwing, you have to blaze a trail and hit the market where you don’t have competition. Otherwise, you’ll end up drowning in a sea of over-saturation. Your life jacket is innovation. The power of the individual versus the power of the collective is a tension that has been around longer than the practice of human resources and talent management as an occupation. While the organization is concerned with achieving success for the collective, too often we forget that the collective is made up of a collection of unique individuals, and that each of these individuals have a collection of unique skills, talents, and abilities that may or not directly fulfil the needs of their role and the organization’s goals and brand promise.

What are you doing about your personal brand?

In my work in the area of communications, personal and organisational development, I have found that there is a common thread that weaves through brands that are neglected. Their end result is obvious and predictable. They simply die and become irrelevant. So often we feel that we have arrived and have no need to further review, refresh, or reinvigorate our brands. It is this feeling within individuals and organisations which is the chief cause for complacency and brand stagnancy. Sometimes we allow our personal brands to suffocate and die at the expense of our organisational brands. It is sad that whilst we may want to remain in the employ of our organisations where we feel a sense of belonging and an undying commitment, our relevance to those same organisations may shift, making us easily replaceable. When we have not taken time to invest in our personal brands, the end of these relationships can be extremely devastating and heart-breaking. While the role of the individual in helping to fulfil the organization’s brand promise is often not considered, it should be, at the same time that the organization considers whether its chosen individuals adequately fill the defined job requirements that the organization believes are necessary to fulfil the collective’s mission to achieve revenue and profits for its shareholders, value for its clients and donors, or benefits for its constituents.

Strategies for building your personal brand

Everyone has a unique personal brand, whether they know it or not. But what we should all be striving for is a powerful, attractive and visible personal brand. Building a recognizable personal brand opens many opportunities. A strong personal brand will impact your ability to get the right jobs, promotions, and increase your ability to attract relationships, talent and capital. Here are some of the tips I regularly share with my clients which can enable you to build your personal brand:

·        Decide on what you want to achieve.

It is vital to have a goal for your branding efforts. Ask yourself how you would like to be perceived. Decide on some goals and align your personal brand in a way that will best help you achieve them.

·        Assess your current reputation.

Understanding how you are currently perceived by your friends, peers, and online communities will give you a realistic assessment of what needs to be done to achieve your branding goals. Try typing your name into Google? What did you find?

·        Decide on a home base/platform.

Would you like to create your own virtual platform.? Your online platforms create a presence for you to share your voice. It’s important to decide on a home base online for your brand. Usually, that is a website or a specific social media profile. Then, take a decision on the social media sites you will use to drive traffic to your home base.

Are you harnessing the skills at your disposal?

Most organizations fail to harness the skills, abilities and talents of the individuals they have in their organization to achieve greater performance as a collective. In my mind this is painful, wasted human capital – painful for the organization (lost potential revenue and profitability) and painful for the individual (boredom, stress, and disappointment). handful of more progressive, innovative organizations are trying to do better to harness the passions and the skills, abilities, and talents of their individuals to better achieve the collective’s ability to generate revenue and profits (or other appropriate benefits) by engaging their employees in the innovation efforts of the organization, and allowing their employees to take some of their skills, abilities and talents and apply them to help fulfil other job descriptions. But in the most progressive organizations, they not only provide a way to better harness a more complete set of their employees’ skills, abilities and talents to more than one job description, but they also find a way to harness more of the skills, abilities, and talents that employees are currently realizing outside the organization in their hobbies, volunteer work, or other places.

Harnessing the power of connections

The successful organizations of the future will not stop there. They will also harness the connections their employees have outside the organization to increase the innovation capacity of the organization, and better engage not only partners in helping to fulfil the needs of different job descriptions, but they will also even engage their customers in achieving the work of the organization. Where customer or partner skills, abilities and talents intersect with the job requirements, work can get done, and where customer or partner skills, abilities or talents intersect with employee skills, abilities or talents intersect, communities and connections have the chance to form and be nurtured.

Brands of the Future

Quality and customer service are no longer differentiators. Innovation is what creates a sustainable competitive advantage. Today it’s not enough to create and communicate value. We are in an Age of Transparency and it takes a whole lot more to penetrate hearts and minds. We are living in an interconnected and interdependent world where everyone wants to feel empowered, people need a North Star and a set of guidelines that touch heads and hearts. It’s about creating a crystal clear united strategy and purpose that moves people to fearlessly innovate.

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