I’ve read all sorts of different articles over time about personal brand. Although I never spent much effort in developing one, I’ve been really lucky to have built a positive “brand” within Network Solutions. How did this hit home? Early this week I began telling people that I am moving to a different company, with my last day being February 6th. There has been one response – almost unanimously: jaws dropped to the floor. Over time, my personal brand has become SEO = Meg Walker = indispensable. That’s really not true because there are a LOT of really bright people here who will step into the breach, especially the three team members I was lucky enough to work with in St. Louis.
When I first came to NetSol four years ago, SEO was viewed as annoying noise. Four years later, it is central to product, site design, communications, brand efforts. I refuse to take credit for all of that – although a VERY generous boss has put it that way. The buy in has been a slow process of sharing thoughts, building an understanding, presenting SEO both formally and in hallway conversations.
Throughout, I’ve tried to adhere to several rules of engagement. They have served me well here. Some of them I’ve learned along the way from some very bright and capable people.
Here are some things that I have done that seem to have worked in both building a personal brand and in getting visibility within the organization:
- Be Humble. One of my favorite books on leadership style is Servant Leadership. This book shares how true leadership is about serving the people around you – not proving that you should be a leader.
- Be Positive. Even when people around you are negative – they will want to spend time talking with you, and you can talk about your area of expertise.
- Be Sharp. Know what’s going on both in the company and in your area of expertise. If it is SEO or SEM, there are a lot of changes going on and being plugged into those so you can field questions is important.
- Be Flexible. There are MANY ways you can solve a problem. Sometimes it’s not the most obvious solution – or even the best – but prepare several solutions so that a truly cooperative one can be found.
- Be Firm. Gently back people away from a ledge if they are headed towards a bad decision, and don’t give in because “everybody says we should do XYZ.” Another area where being firm is important is set clear objectives and deadlines – and gently but firmly guide people towards keeping them.
- Be Understanding. Although your agenda may be the most important thing to you, it will never be for someone else. Listen first, then you are more likely to be heard. In short: CARE.
- Be Understandable. This one has been hard for me. It’s easy to assume that people know what you know. Assume that they don’t – and find common ways to help people understand what you do.
So when I can, I will post about where I am going. It will likely be a review of my first few weeks.