After many years working in large companies filled with bright and talented experts, I saw first-hand those that successfully built smart and enduring personal brands and those that simply fell short. Those that endured became sought-after thought leaders rapidly progressing in their careers, while those that fell short remained stagnant and irrelevant.
The real shame is that those that fell short could have taken greater advantage of the resources and opportunities afforded them through these big organizations. They either never made the time, or never made the connection to its value.
“Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.” — Tom Peters in Fast Company
A few of the larger organizations I’ve worked for include ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ on their list of core values. Unfortunately, most of the employees are unclear as to what that actually means and how they are expected to display entrepreneurial characteristics in their daily activities. Within a smaller organization or a startup, this may be more easily realized given the inherent mindset and culture of the work environment. But for larger organizations, corporate bureaucracy, complexities, control, and investor pressures bring a host of challenges and barriers. Established brands, organizational hierarchies, and endless policies and procedures can breed complacency.
No matter the size of the organization you work for, or even if you are in fact an entrepreneur launching your own business, proactively incorporating core elements of an entrepreneurial spirit is vital to distinguishing oneself in a sea of talent, building professional excellence, and achieving long-term success.
I was watching this video blog post by Marie Forleo the other day and it got me thinking about the standards we set for ourselves in the work that we do. Not just the goals and objectives we establish in our planning activities, but the actual level of standards applied in what we do and how we do it.
As Marie has noted, all too often we have experiences with brands that result in frustration, negativity, and lack of focus or responsiveness to our needs. We’re simply not being heard. In a competitive market where the bottom line becomes the driving force to every interaction, quality, service, and human relationships can take a back seat.
As business professionals, we each have a responsibility to present our best selves to those we serve by constantly looking for new opportunities to raise the bar.
This simple idea isn’t about innovation or creating the next great product or service in the effort to make more money. This is about increasing the expectations we set for our business, ourselves, and those we work with, so we can expand and enrich the collective value and experiences we bring to those we serve.
The virtual workforce is a business trend on the rise and working from home offices along with it. The convenience of technology innovations coupled with the nature of knowledge worker professions allows us to work from almost any location we choose.
According to Global Workplace Analytics, 2.6% of the U.S. workforce telecommutes at least half the time, and since 2005 it’s grown nearly 80%. This article in the New York Times proves the trend continues. In the latest Intuit 2020 Report, researchers predict there will be an accelerated increase of a “contingent workforce” such as freelancers and contractors making up nearly 40-50% of the workforce by the year 2020.
Working from a home office is becoming less of a luxury and more of a standard. Yet many aren’t certain they have the right discipline or even the proper set-up to maintain an effective professional life within the home.