Activate An Effective Personal Brand

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Ben was stuck in his dead-end job as a waiter at the local restaurant in town. By day, he was known as the nicest, more courteous server in the area. By night, Ben attended a local college with the ambition of starting his own social media serves. Ben understood stereotypes and bias. People had the tenacity to put individuals in pigeon holes with their biases. Therefore, Ben started building his online personality with writing insightful articles about social media and running a video blog. He wrote an e-book about social media that received Internet acclaim.

He quietly started a radio talk show. With his persistence, Ben started seeing his effort pay. The restaurant was packed with a bus of college students headed to a convention. Ben was helping out the servers with the big crowd. Suddenly, there was a big commotion in the crowd that involved Ben. Another server came to get the owner about this situation. The owner was afraid that Ben had done something wrong. He didn’t. These college students from out of town were overwhelmed with excitement in meeting the online celebrity “Ben the eWriter.” His online presence had repositioned his personal brand. 

With the impact of the Internet and social media platforms, like Facebook, working professionals can reenergize or rebrand themselves in a matter of minutes. In fact, individuals can actually reposition themselves into new careers with the right strategies.  In today’s job market, people need to understand the concepts of personal branding and how to develop their own personal strategy for employment.  In this discussion, we will examine the concept of personal branding. Individuals will learn how to reenergize yourself and make gain more influence in the process. 

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Wicked Problems for Today’s Leaders

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My wife and I wanted to get a motion detector in our backyard. We had a backlight on the house already. The house was a new construction. The motion detector would be additional security. We estimated the price to be under $200.

When the electrician arrived, he talked with us about our needs and did a thorough inspection of the home. He came back with an estimate of over $600. He rationalized this price due to the configuration of our home and the difficulty of wiring this fixture.

My wife and I both wanted this motion detector. However, we were unwilling to pay the price for this addition. Thus, we needed to redefined the problem. We wanted this motion detector as extra security for the home. We asked the electrician what it would cost to change out the light fixture. He mentioned less than $80. The motion detector was about $50. By redefining or refocusing the problem, we were able to carryout a better solution. 

In search of more lucrative markets, today’s companies are looking for more opportunities across the globe. The United States is a land where dreams come true. Individuals from across the globe come to this country for possible opportunities. Yet, companies fail every day in the marketplace.

According to one study, the failure rate for new startups is about 46%. Botch understanding of your business competencies and market opportunities may put to be fatal. On the contrary, businesses that provide value to customers by solving their pressing problems are rewarded.

By solving someone’s challenging problems, individuals are compensated very well. Thus, solving ‘wicked problems’ could yield greater rewards.  In this session, we will discuss the concepts of wicked problems and introduces how organizations can solve them with effective leaders who provide a burst of innovative thinking.

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Know Your Worth: Compensation Negotiation

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As I contemplated my next career move, I knew it was important to know my worth in the market. In a sense, the concept was foreign to me since I had worked 27 years in engineering for the public sector. In securing that job, the only thing that was negotiated was the time of employment.

My desire to have a second career outside of engineering into academia drove me to get meaningful experience as an adjunct professor. Of course, I felt my core competencies were strong as a professor. I had about ten years in academics working part-time. Yet, I also knew that obtaining a full-time tenure track would be highly competitive due to the limited amount of these treasured positions and the number of applicants. 

I personally knew of qualified business professors who could not obtain a full-time faculty position. To increase my marketability, I continued to secure new skill sets and to follow market trends. One of the biggest trends working for me was that many institutions were looking for new faculty who had demonstrated working experience.

Yet, in order to determine my worth, I had to actively apply for academic positions and go through the interview process. With every interview, each prospective employer provided me with a missing piece of my market worth. However, I got this insight by being assertive by asking meaningful questions like “what part of my application package attracted you to me as a candidate.”  

This transparency was contagious. One dean even told me my prospective rank (i.e. salary) in his organization. All of these pieces were critical in helping me negotiate my final position as a full-time faculty because I understood my worth in the marketplace.

In today’s competitive environment, working professionals need to know their worth so that they can be compensated appropriately and they can market themselves toward better jobs. In fact, professionals need to know how to market themselves and promote their personal brand in order to maintain their market worth. Downsizing and layoffs are a way of life for most U.S. businesses.

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Connecting The Dots Between Personal Competencies & Personal Branding

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With fierce competition for limited jobs, many college students wonder if they will be able to land a good job. Sadly, the economic situation feels like a bad dream. With a weak job growth, many U.S. jobs will continue to be outsourced globally or automated through technology. Yet, there are opportunities for those students who are prepared for the future.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, total employment in 2024 will reach 160.3 million, an increase from 2014 of almost 9.8 million jobs. The health care and social assistance sector will account for over a third of the nation’s projected job growth from 2014 to 2024. This article focuses on how building the right competencies will help individuals brand their personal brand and increase their opportunities for job opportunities.

As a result, today’s unemployed workers are unsure about their future. Many students struggle to pursue the right major in college. Others follow the latest trend on reality TV for selecting their ideal major. Finding the ideal job is a combination of personal interest/passion, values, and skills/abilities.

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Building A LinkedIn Profile for More Job Opportunities

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Today’s college students face a landscape of great opportunities as employers look to this Millennium generation to infuse bright ideas and energy into their organizations. In recruiting young engineers and scientists at the Department of Energy, I soon discussed a major disconnect between what employers desire from potential employees (i.e. college students), and today’s job seekers’ expectations of employers.

I often spoke on this matter and wrote these discoveries in several formats including articles, books, and lectures. With that said, I believe marketing these concepts are also vital on Bison Hill too. In this discussion, we will examine how an effective LinkedIn.com profile can be utilized to showcase students’ potentials to future employers and increase their personal brand.

Having an online presence is vital for today’s employment opportunities. According to Business2community.com, 427,000 resumes are posted each week on Monster.com, an online job board; 8 million job applicants said they found their job on Twitter.com.  Eighty-nine percent of employment recruiters have hired through LinkedIn.com.

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Exploring Hidden Markets in Ballroom Dancing

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We just had to go on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee, the place was known for great blues music. We stopped at one of the famous blues hotspots on this strip. We were directed to our seats; the house was packed with people. The band was playing with great passion. My wife and I walked in the room to celebrate with others the love of good music. The music was carried across the room slowly as blues music permeated the atmosphere like smoke covers a house on fire. Everyone was excited. People were all over the dance floor. These folks were no amateurs to blues. Interesting enough, my wife and I were the only black couple in this crowded location. Blacks created the blues. Yet, many blacks have either abandoned this genre or have forgotten the roots of this music. I hope that dance in America will not falter like this.

As my wife and I have danced ballroom in various states and different dance studios, we have not seen many black people doing ballroom dancing. African-Americans have made significant contributions in all walks of life, dance is no exception. Black History Month gives us a time to remember the pioneers of dance, including Josephine Baker and the Dance Theatre of Harlem and glance at the future. When you start talking about ballroom dancing, everyone thinks about the ABC’s hit show, Dancing With the Stars, that pairs up celebrities with professional dance partners in an intense ballroom competition. There are a few African Americans involved with ballroom dancing in the nation. In this session, we will examine how dance studios can better target African American communities by reaching an untapped market.

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Job Strategies for Professionals

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Are you fearful about your career future? Good people can’t find jobs. College graduates are losing Hope. Our world is filled with uncertainty. My co-author William Bailey and I wrote our latest book, Job Strategies for the 21st Century: How to Assist Today’s College Students during Economic Turbulence.  Through our research, we found that there is a huge disconnect between what organizations are looking for in potential employees, and what today’s job seeker are providing. I will share some of the key insights from our undertaking. Continue reading

2014 College Grads & Beyond: Revising Your Job Strategy

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Many parents will celebrate their child’s graduation from college this year.  However, most parents are concerned that their children will not have a better life than they did.  According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the U.S. ranked fourth worst among 29 developed countries for children obtaining a higher level of education than their parents.  In fact, only 22% of those 24 to 34 years old achieved a higher level of education than their parents in the United States compared to an OECD average of 37%.

For many former college graduates, unemployment and underemployment continue to be a curse on their dreams and aspirations.  Yet, this pressing problem has impacted many segments of our society and way of life.  For example, adult children are returning home to their parents at record numbers. Sadly, overly-protective parents may stunt the maturation of their college graduates by destroying their independence as they return home.

These miscues in understanding the financial climate and the hiring process of employers could jeopardize their future.  This article examines the current economic crisis and how recent college graduates and parents can better position themselves for more employment opportunities.

According to several polls, including Harris and Career Builders’ polls, employers expect to hire more college graduates based on feedback from more than 2,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals from various industries.  In fact, 57% of employers plan to hire new college graduates which are up from last year (53%).   Businesses and other organizations intend to hire graduates in percentages from these majors:  computer/information (28%), engineering (18%), math/statistics (14%), health/clinical services (14%), communications technology (12%), engineering technologies (11%), liberal areas (10%), education (7%), science technologies (7%), and communications/journalism (7%).

Consequently, in society, getting hired can be shown as the important effect on the demand for any particular college major.   If there is no demand or interest for college major, students will have a difficult time in finding gainful employment.

Despite this positive prospect, many employers feel that most college graduates are not prepared for the workforce.  According to a recent study, 24% of employers do not feel that recent graduates are prepared for positions in their companies.  Sadly, employers do not have the time and patience to groom prospective graduates who are talented but lack experience or preparation for the workforce.  Companies want prospective employees who are ready to work.

Peter Cappelli, author of Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs, explains that employers have shifted their expectations for prospective employees: “Employers do not have time to develop the new skills they need internally when dramatic changes in products and strategies happen so quickly.”  Regardless of where you stand on today’s college students, it is clear that some intervention is necessary if they are to be successful in this environment.  The following job strategies are offered to better assist this segment of the population:

  • Evaluate your current online appearance so that your image makes a positive impression.
  • Get an independent assessment on your resume and job strategies.
  • Develop a personal brand that will create an image of indispensability and uniqueness.
  • Showcase your expertise on a variety of levels (blogs, media expert, etc.).
  • Champion a significant cause in a nonprofit organization such as United Way.
  • Consider volunteering in areas where you can build or enhance your expertise.
  • Extend your network globally with social media platforms such as Linkedin.com.
  • Obtain special training or certifications to become more competitive.

With the ever increasing competition for limited job opportunities, college grads must understand today’s hiring process. Additionally, parents can assist their recent grad by providing other non-traditional strategies for obtaining full employment.  This article demonstrates the need for careful and deliberate job strategies in today’s competitive environment for employability.

Individuals can help themselves by becoming knowledgeable in all aspects of the employment process.  The road may not be easy, but dedicated planning will pay off for recent college grads and their parents to find successful employment in the future.

© 2014 by Daryl D. Green

 

 

[1] “U.S. students struggle to top their parents” by Leslie Kwoh

[2] Talent on Demand by Peter Cappelli

Time Management for Professionals

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As I teach working adults at the university level, the biggest complaint is the lack of time to fulfill academic requirements.  Of course, many working professionals must juggle their jobs, family obligations, and other priorities. It’s very difficult to be successful with these priorities. However, being successful is possible. 

Everyone can benefit from good time management.  Let’s examine professionals in the retail business. Professionals who interact with customers must be good stewards of their time.  Yet, most people have so much trouble with time management due to conflicting priorities in their lives in a busy society.

For salespeople, life can be pretty demanding; attempting to connect with customers often means taking away from one’s personal life. Understanding how to navigate one’s time is essential in managing our priorities. 

Salespeople are no exception. Mark Johnston and Greg Marshall, authors of Relationship Selling, maintain that the ability to manage time and territory is essential for salespersons for three reasons: (a) increase productivity, (b) improve customer relationships, and (c) enhance personal confidence.  Therefore, good time management assists salespeople and other business professionals in mapping out their priority obligations. 

Successful people distinguish the trivial from the important.  This reality is true in sales, as well as other industries. In my technical field, I see many people operating in crisis mode because they are engulfed in trivial matters. Working only on trivial matters is unproductive when an individual is ignoring the important things. Time management speaks to what is really important to you.

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Stephen Covey, author of Seven Habits for Highly Effective People, argued that highly successful people know how to manage their time (aka ‘Put first things first’).  He notes, “Effective management is all about putting first things first. While leadership decides what the ‘first things’ are, it is management that puts them first, day by day, moment by moment.

Management is the discipline carrying it out. The successful person has the habit of doing the things failures don’t like to do.”  Therefore, distinguishing the important from the trivial is part of good time management.

Developing effective time management skills is not a simple or short process. When a salesperson is young and single, he or she has different priorities. The individual may be willing to make huge concessions, such as long hours, to move ahead or make additional income.

Yet, the individual may transition into a different stage, where he is married and has children.  This reality can shift his priorities. Some people balance this strategically. Therefore, different life stages can impact an individual’s time management. 

Discuss your professional experience on this topic. 

© 2014 by Daryl D. Green

Visibility for Professionals

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In our society, which makes many determinations about a person’s character from his or her actions, high visibility is important to position oneself to success.

Philip Kotler and Kevin Keller, authors of Marketing Management, argue the importance of branding for individuals as well as for products to help them stand out among the crowd: “For branding strategies to be successful and brand value to be created, consumers must be convinced there are meaningful differences among branding in the product or service category.”[1]  Therefore, professionals need to distinguish themselves from their competitors.

Sadly, most workers are invisible to their management.  Some employees believe that if they work hard and are loyal to their organizations, they will be promoted and rewarded accordingly.  However, these individuals often see less qualified and less talented people get promoted ahead of them.

Renowned Pastor Richard S. Brown Jr. underlines this misunderstanding of this current culture:  “Everyone wants to be outstanding but no one wants to stand out.”  Today’s organizations promote individuals who know how to shine.  From a marketing perspective, these individuals understand how to use visibility to promote their personal brand.

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In the book, High Visibility: The Making and Marketing of Professionals into Celebrities,  Irvin Rein, Philip Kotler, and Martin Stoller examined the  role that celebrities play in society and the fact the everyone is involved in either producing or consuming celebrities.[2]  Yet, when you discuss this reality openly to others, most managers and executives would argue that it is the individual technical performance or merit of their work that gets them ahead.

However, most folks will not take advice from a ‘no named’ or unfamiliar expert, given the choices between an unrecognized and a celebrity expert.  Therefore, high visibility can open doors to opportunity.

Rein, Kotler, and Stoller note:  “Today for the visibility-conscious professional, fame is the ultimate accomplishment.  Well-knownness has evolved into celebrity, and in today’s society, that means power and money – not just to its possessor, but also to businesses, institutions, political parties, causes, entrepreneurs, and charities.” [3]

For the savvy professional, gaining visibility goes to understanding what’s important to his or her organization or targeted institution.  This task requires doing the necessary research to determine the organization’s priorities and goals.  Furthermore, this matter requires understanding the personal characteristics of the key decision makers and looking for opportunities for high visibility.  The rewards of high visibility can be great.

Rein, Kotler, and Stoller further explain: “Our society is generally quite willing to pay this ‘celebrity premium,’ to reward those who take the risks to become the highly visible people we so love to revere or revile.” Of course, high visibility normally requires a great amount of sacrifice on an individual’s part.  Often, it can mean taking a job that no one wants because odds of success are slim.

As in many stories highlighted in the magazine tabloids about celebrities, relationships can also be a casualty of high visibility.  As society searches for more heroes and fulfilled fantasies, celebrities and fame will forever be a part of our society.  Consequently, high visibility will afford opportunists with more fortune than the Average Joe.  Therefore, working professionals need to understand how high visibility can be used in order to provide them with advantages that are more competitive.   

Please discuss the visibility for professionals based on your own work experience.

© 2013 by Daryl D. Green

 


[1] Marketing Management by Philip Kotler and Kevin Keller

[2] High Visibility: The Making and Marketing of Professionals into Celebrities by Irvin Rein, Philip Kotler, and Martin Stoller

[3] High Visibility: The Making and Marketing of Professionals into Celebrities by Irvin Rein, Philip Kotler, and Martin Stoller