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Personal Brand – 6 Steps to Build a Strong Personal Brand in the Workplace

personal brand in the workplacePersonal Brand – 6 Steps to Build a Strong Personal Brand in the Workplace in 2020

Your personal style in the workplace significantly influences  the perception that people have of you. Moreover, it rolls up into being your brand or personal image. Often perceptions that people have of you are very one-sided and heavily affected by one negative or positive characteristic which is the so-called “halo effect”, which is one of the biases that people have when forming perceptions of others.

You can definitely influence how people perceive you. You need to adjust your personal style to build your personal brand in the workplace and in your personal life the same way as Coca Cola and Amazon builds theirs. You can be anything you want to be and make people think anything you would like them to.

You just need to consciously manage your personal brand. It must be of the highest caliber, consistent and credible. You can call it your personal style, your personal image, or personal brand. It does not matter. Everyone has one and you need to control your own.

What is a personal brand?

What is your personal brand in the workplace? Your personal brand in the workplace is the way you establish and reinforce, in the eyes of your colleagues, who you are and what you stand for in your professional life. It is the unique combination of your skills, personality, experience, the way you dress, the way you look and carry yourself, perceived actions. It is the impression other people formed about you. Every action you take either strengthens or weakens your personal brand in the workplace.

personal brand in the workplace building your personal brand

Below are six ideas that can significantly help you build your personal style and, hence, your personal brand.

1. Over invest during the first 6 months. This is the easiest time to build your personal brand

You probably noticed when you join a new company or when you start a degree at university, a perception about who you are and what you are capable of develops and is usually based on what you do over the very first few weeks or even days, and in some cases hours. Therefore, if you give everything you have over those first 6 months, you will lay a great foundation upon which to build your success.

2. When it comes to building a personal brand, appearance counts

Numerous studies have indicated that people prefer attractive and neat people. The way you dress, the way you walk and the way you communicate are all part of your personal brand and contributes to the way people see you. If you want to learn more about how to carry yourself, we have many programs that touch on that. The best programs to start with are How to Become a McKinsey Partner and How to Be Influential and Make an Impact. Both of these FC programs are led by the former McKinsey worldwide strategy practice co-leader, Kevin P. Coyne.

3. Dress a level higher than the majority

You need to always dress for your next job. If you are a business analyst in a consulting firm, dress as a consultant or even as a senior consultant or a manager. Even if some senior people in the workplace are dressed very casually, but the overall dress code is business casual, you should be dressed just a level higher than the majority of your colleagues and superiors.

This generally will show that you take your job and career seriously, that you are here to do business and you intend to go far in life. This sends a message that you come to work not to socialize and make friends but to bring great value to the company and the clients you serve. This will make you stand out.

Of course, there are exceptions. Some companies specifically stay away from a professional dress code. A good example is Google, employees of which follow a very casual dress code. However, even in that situation pay attention to how successful people a level or two above you generally dress and emulate their dress code.

In most cases, this guideline will make you stand out and get noticed. Of course, your other actions, such as the quality of your work are also vital ingredients of your personal brand and should support your overall message of excellence.

THERE IS ONE IMPORTANT WORD OF CAUTION. Dressing well will make you feel better internally and present a confident and positive message. Never ever confuse dressing better for acting better than your co-workers. Your professional dressing will generate attention, so it is very important you go out of your way to indicate that this is your preferred dressing style only and you DO NOT think you are better than your co-workers. Show this in your actions and be sincere about it. If you dress well but act better than your co-workers then you will harm your reputation.

4. Manage and protect your reputation

Your personal brand should be aligned with helping you to build a reputation of credibility, competence, and reliability. Your superiors need to know that if there is trouble and they need someone reliable and competent, they should go to you.

Also, ensure you protect your reputation. Remember you don’t always have an opportunity to explain yourself. So, always look at yourself from the third-person perspective and think about how it will come across to someone observing you. For example, if a colleague asks you to do a coffee meeting at 10 am and prefers to sit on a bench next to your offices while chatting, think carefully how it will come across to passing by colleagues. They may think that you are slacking off. So it is better to meet with your colleague in a place where, if someone sees you, it will not damage your reputation.

5. A part of your personal brand should be that you always keep your word

Staying true to your word must be an important part of your personal brand. Take on only what you can handle and feel free to renegotiate deadlines, where necessary and where possible. Your personal brand must clearly show that you are someone who takes requests and promises seriously.

Your attitude should be one that if you promised to do something you will do everything in your power to ensure that it gets done, one way or another. And if you cannot get it done you will do everything you can to ensure it gets done by someone else and that the person to whom you promised a certain result will get the result they are expecting.

For example, if you promised to deliver a certain document by the deadline, and an unexpected and more important assignment came up, you need to do everything you can to find someone to do the deliverable for you, and you still need to be accountable for its quality.

After you find such a person, you need to approach your superior and confirm with them if they feel comfortable with the other person taking responsibility for the deliverable that you were assigned to do.

If you have done everything you could to find someone and there is just nobody available then you can approach your superior and describe the situation. He or she may then make a decision on how best to proceed.

The bottom line is, you need to be proactive, reliable, and feel ultimately accountable for any work you promise to do. Keeping your word must be seen by others as an important ingredient of your personal brand. It is also important to be consistent in your personal brand across different parts of your life, which includes your personal style in your relationships outside of work.

6. A part of your personal brand should be exceeding expectations. How to do this? Under-promise and over-deliver

This simple technique can help you greatly in establishing an image of competence and excellence. Furthermore, this technique is useful in any area of your life: in your studies, in your career, and in your personal life. By following this simple rule, you will consistently exceed people’s expectations and will, therefore, have the reputation of someone who routinely exceeds expectations.

Final Thoughts

The above ideas are really important and rarely implemented. If you will adapt it to enhance your personal brand, this alone will set you apart from the crowd.

Articles you may find helpful:

The Key to a Sustainable Competitive Advantage in Your Career

Ethics is Shaped by Your Social Network

Ethical Standards are No Small Matter for McKinsey

Ethical vs Criminal: Recording a telephone interview

Business Acumen – Step-by-Step Guide to Improve It

Up or out policy: 6 Insights to Help You Get Promoted

Why Bain and Company Never Branded Itself as Ex-BCG

If you want to see samples of our advanced training materials go to FIRMSconsulting.com/promo and sign up for free to receive sample materials.

Recommended books:

business ethics succeeding as a management consultantSucceeding as a Management Consultant

When people think about the business strategy we often think about the field of strategy consulting/management consulting and firms like McKinsey, BCG, et al. If you are interested in learning how to conduct a management consulting engagement, you will likely enjoy this book. Succeeding as a Management Consultant is a book set in the Brazilian interior. This book follows an engagement team as they assist Goldy, a large Brazilian gold miner, in diagnosing and fixing deep and persistent organizational issues. This book follows an engagement team over an 8-week assignment and explains how they successfully navigate a challenging client environment, develop hypotheses, build the analyses, and provide the final recommendations. It is written so the reader may understand, follow, and replicate the process. It is the only book laying out a consulting assignment step-by-step. (Published by FIRMSconsulting.) One of the best business books if you are interested in management consulting and strategy. This book will be very useful as well if you are a small business consultant. If you were searching for answers to questions about consulting, this book is a gold mine, according to many readers.

business ethics Marketing saves the worldMarketing Saves the World, Bill Matassoni’s Memoir 

Bill Matassoni’s (Ex-McKinsey and Ex-BCG Senior Partner) Marketing Saves The World is a truly unique book. Never before has a McKinsey partner published his memoir publicly. This book is a rare opportunity – a true exclusive – to see what shapes the thought process of a partner and learn about marketing and strategy. The memoir essentially lays out McKinsey’s competitive advantage and explains how it can be neutralized. (Published by FIRMSconsulting.) One of the best business books if you are interested in marketing, strategy, how McKinsey and BCG operate, and overall in management consulting.

business ethics Turquoise eyesTurquoise Eyes: A Novel about Problem Solving & Critical Thinking

Turquoise Eyes started off the groundbreaking new genre developed by FIRMSconsulting that combines compelling narrative while teaching problem solving and critical thinking skills. Set after a bank begins implementing a new retail banking strategy, we follow Teresa García Ramírez de Arroyo, a director-general in the Mexican government, who has received some disturbing news. A whistleblower has emailed Teresa with troubling news about a mistake in the loan default calculations and reserve ratios. The numbers do not add up. The book loosely uses the logic and financial analyses in A Typical McKinsey Engagement, >270 videos.

WHAT IS NEXT? Sign up for our email updates on FIRMSconsulting.com/promo. This way you will not miss exclusive free training episodes and updates which we only share with the Firmsconsulting community. And if you have any questions about our membership training programs (StrategyTV.com/Apps & StrategyTraining.com/Apps) do not hesitate to reach out to us at support @ firmsconsulting.com. You can also get access to selected episodes when you sign-up for our newsletter above. Continue developing your strategy skills.

Cheers, Kris

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