Monthly Archives: September 2012

Are You a “Go-To” Person?

What a great question!  And if the answer is yes (and I hope it is) then the logical follow-up question is “What do people go to you for?  You may never have thought about it.  The answer may only be one word.  For example, people tell me that they come to me for “energy” or “inspiration”.  Maybe people come to you for your “wisdom” or for your “guidance” in challenging situations.  Or maybe you are in the inside loop and are known for some unique “knowledge” or “expertise/experience”.  It’s different for everyone and you may not even know for certain.

Your “Go-To” Reputation is Part of Your Brand

It’s a important question . . . what do others come to you for?  I always ask this question when working with people around building their career performance and long-term success.  And if they like the answer (which is very important) then we weave it into their personal and career brand so they own it – take control of it. It means that we are being seen as a resource – a valuable resource. We have something to offer relatively quickly and without a great deal of hassle.  We are approachable, easy to get in contact with and can be trusted to listen and provide some help. Now that is a great reputation to have.

Remember!  It doesn’t mean you have all the answers or that you’re going to take on all or even part of the work.  In fact, it’s very important that you don’t see yourself in that role but rather that you have the contacts and the willingness to help connect others with resources. It means that you are a connector – a person in the know.  That is an excellent reputation to have!

Learning from Sheila Leslie, Nevada State Senator

Just yesterday, I had the chance to listen to a wonderful member of the Nevada State Legislature, Sheila Leslie, State Senator, speak about her role in the legislature. In response to a question from the audience, Leslie shared how she mentors and advises newly elected legislators.  And she knows what she’s talking about . . . Leslie has served Northern Nevada since 1998 first as a State Assemblywoman and now as a State Senator. She is very well-respected and best known for her expertise and experience in the health and human services.

So it was no surprise that Leslie’s advice to young legislators is to become a “go-to” person in an area you are interested in; you have some expertise and you are willing to help others.  And that’s exactly what Leslie has done for years. Right out of graduate school, she served in the poorest areas of the Dominican Republic with the Peace Corp; started the first Food Bank in Nevada and worked for years establishing a network of child protective community services. Out of these personal experiences and passion, Leslie has become the valuable “go-to” person on these issues. This is her reputation and a very powerful influential brand. She’s an inspiration to all of us!


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Personal Branding for Dummies

Personal Branding for Dummies, by Susan Chritton, M.Ed. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012.

This brand new book is a great “nuts to soup” on crafting a personal brand for yourself. Normally, I’m not attracted to these yellow jacketed “Dummy” books but this one is really good. After hearing author Susan Chritton present on an ICF conference call, I picked up the book and read it all the way across country on a recent East Coast trip. Now I’m having fun watching how corporate and personal brands show up in our world. Check out my recent blog for a funny story about Southwest Airlines!

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Starting with that First Impression

First impressions are critical in both our professional and personal lives. And they are even more important when we are embarking on any kind of major life or career transition. We don’t usually take the time to think about how others perceive us – we just let those impressions happen and hope for the best. But are those impressions what we really want or who we really are?

Let’s take control of that first impression by crafting an authentic personal brand that lets others know who we are, what we stand for and most importantly the unique value that we bring others. It happens fast – people get a sense of us within minutes, so let’s make sure they see us as we want to be seen and known. To get you started here are three powerful questions:

  1. “What first impression do I want to give others?”
  2. “What do I want to be known for (reputation) in my professional & personal world?”
  3. “What legacy do I want to leave behind?”

The answers to these questions will help you clarify who you really are. Now, the next step is identifying the unique value you bring others and then finally, the challenge of communicating this to your greater world.

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Power of Branding on SouthWest Airlines

Even though it’s crowded and a bit chaotic, I still am a loyal SouthWest Airlines customer.  I fly back and forth to the East Coast frequently with two college kids in New York and my twin sister, Diane, in Boston.  And I always fly SouthWest if I can.  Why?  Because they are more personal, they don’t give me a hard time, and those peanuts taste pretty good after the 5th hour in the air.

So I never really thought about the SouthWest corporate brand until a recent trip when I overheard two young boys talking to their Dad in the row behind me.  “So Daddy, why do you always fly Southwest?” It didn’t take Dad long to respond . . . “Because the fares are cheaper.  They allow two bags for free.  And they are more fun.”

Wow, that’s really what powerful branding is all about. People asking each other why they do business with certain companies.  SouthWest figured this out years ago . . . create customer loyalty through personal connection and proven unique promise of value.  This is their personal corporate brand and it’s authentic, consistent and incredibly successful.  And the yearly ratings of all the airlines always have SouthWest at the top – just like the customers are talking about.  Now that is business success!

So what can we learn from SouthWest Airlines both personally and professionally?  A lot.  It starts with looking carefully at who we really are & how we want to be know (first impressions, reputation & legacy); the unique value we want to bring to others; who we want to be engaged with and then finally being able to communicate that value to them.  The overall result is an authentic personal brand profile that is in alignment with you in this time of your life

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