Boost Your Personal Brand and Business Relationships

April 22nd, 2015

personal branding, nance rosenLooking for a big personal brand boost? Join me at UCLAx Personal Branding Boot Camp this weekend! bit.ly/1NFpKHQ 

A big “aha!” moment for my campers is seeing how out of control they really are, when it comes to creating their reputations. In fact, many of them spend the majority of each day, in fact their lives, working on other people’s priorities and goals. Hence, they are a reflection of others, and not authentically projecting who they really are.

Perhaps it has occurred to you, that you are not the center of your own work and life.

Unless you stop and reframe the purpose of each action and interaction so it’s in your interest: work defines you – and not the other way around. Instead of working a plan that creates the life you want, you may be relying on your wits and reflexes to manage large and small things, including the people around you.

Surprisingly, the foundation of creating the life you want is simply engaging in a new habit, but one that is very tough to acquire. Nobody around you wants you to do this. Everyone is counting on your being a passive actor, helping them move forward.

So this new habit requires you have both grit and desire. The habit is to be outcome-minded.

Before any action or interaction, get a clear, ideal outcome for yourself. Connect what you are about to do (and how you are going to do it) with what you want for yourself and your relationships in the long term.

For example, for every important person in your life – and those you would like to meet – you need a relationship outcome and a map of your interactions. What is it you want from this person? The next step is to plan what you’ll achieve in each interaction so you reach your ideal outcome. Of course, each stage or interaction will have a specific goal.

Remember your reputation is made via relationships, so make sure your plans are good for your targets as well as yourself.

If you’ve never thought about relationships like this, it might explain why connections or networking fail to deliver what you need.

As an example of a relationship map, below you’ll find the nine stages of a successful new business relationship. Consider what information, examples, questions, activity, or even other people you might bring into each stage, to move the relationship forward toward your ideal outcome. By the way, this mapping works with recruiters and hiring managers, too!

If you want more free content on developing business relationships, email me at Nance@NanceRosen.com. Subject line: Relationships.

Stage 1 – Curiosity

Your prospect has a sense of intrigue about you, your company or solution, and entertains the idea that you might benefit him/her. You sense that it’s worth your time to continue interacting.

Stage 2 – Connected

You both sense that the two of you understand each other and have common ground worth exploring further.

Stage 3 – Inspired

It’s obvious that a relationship or collaboration would benefit you both, and the possibilities are energizing.

Stage 4 – Engaged

Your prospect feels safe to acknowledge unmet needs or discuss current or new goals. You confirm that you are talking with the right person (one with purchasing authority and a budget).

Stage 5 – Committed

You strike a clear agreement to move forward with the purpose of fulfilling your prospect’s unmet needs or helping him/her take advantage of opportunities. Your prospect agrees to buy, if your solution would satisfactorily benefit him/her.

Stage 6 – Learning and sharing

You support each other with important information and insights. You share a clear goal for your collaboration or relationship. You agree on the initial steps to move toward your goal.

Stage 7 – Problem-solving and planning

You and your prospect rigorously or systematically identify pain, obstacles, positive and negative forces, and implications of not solving the problem. You each contribute to strategies for overcoming obstacles or reaching goals, and create/act on a tactical plan for purchase and use.

Stage 8 – Buying and selling

Your prospect generates the purchase order or other documentation necessary for you to create an agreement, and arranges the time to review, accept and sign your agreement. You generate the agreement, which the prospect signs. You prepare to deliver, install or integrate your solution. You receive a check and oversee implementation.

Stage 9 – Recommending and referring

You both actively seek to send additional business or contacts to each other. You keep each other informed about opportunities for upgrades and add-ons. You meet to stay up-to-date.

Do This

Take 3 interactions/relationships you currently have with suspects, prospects or customers, and associate each one with the stage you are now in, using the 9 stages above. Jot down notes to track what went on at each stage. If you’ve missed some stages, ask yourself: what can I deliver to get on the fast track?

If you want more free content on business relationships, email me at Nance@NanceRosen.com. Subject line: Relationships.

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If Everybody Does It, Why Shouldn’t You?

April 9th, 2015

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-team-business-people-standing-together-line-their-mob-mobile-modern-office-image32231811Everybody says an MBA is worthless. Everybody says Instagram is the only social media worth being on. Everybody says balance is more important than putting in time at work.

So, why should you be any different?

Neuroscientists have found that certain people naturally have divergent thinking. That’s the ability to weave together connections between things that other people don’t put together, and come up with a novel twist or innovative idea. People like Jon Stewart and Jay Z can do it, often on-the-spot. We used to call these folks “quick witted,” or “good on their feet.”

Not everyone can do it. Certainly, not with humor or with rhyme.

So, if you are not naturally inclined to originality or creativity, should you simply do what most other people are doing?

Should you dumb down your vocabulary?

Should you go where the herd goes for holiday?

Should you eschew a graduate degree or even college?

After all, isn’t communicating with the masses and being like people – so they will like you – the best way to play well with others?

Yes. And no.

It depends on what you want to do in your career or business.

I often forget that some people have a deeply rich personal life, filled with friends, family or hobbies. So much so, that work really isn’t all that central to their satisfaction. If you are deeply devoted to something outside of work, then it does serve you to make as little noise, news or perhaps even effort as possible. Get along. Put in your 7.5 hours and go home. Enjoy!

However, if you suspect that you have greatness coiled within you for business, technology or some other occupation: you must bear the cost of being different. You must dare to fail. You might even scare yourself with your ambition.

And, you must show your employer, prospective employer, clients, prospective clients, investors and so on: exactly what you can do that’s different than the madding crowd.

Increase your inventiveness. Diverge from what everybody is doing.

Here’s a way to begin building your divergent thinking. Take a paper clip, a small spring, an egg shell, a coffee cup or any other object: and make a list of 10 novel uses for it. The first time you do this, you might not have a cascade of innovative ideas. Just think of it as a new skill, that with practice you’ll master.

Make it a daily practice to pick up something small: a stone, a shell, or a K cup (please, they are not recyclable!) and give it 10 novel uses. Do it instead of texting, checking your social media or otherwise doing what everyone else is doing.

There’s a reason not everyone gets ahead at work or starts their own successful business. Give yourself a chance to see if you might be special. And, give us a chance to see if you might be the next big thing.

Thinking about going big with your personal brand? Join me at UCLAx for my Personal Branding Boot Camp, April 25 and 26. As a bonus, you’ll get a free hour of one-on-one coaching with me, a $500 value.

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Do You Really Need a Coach?

April 1st, 2015

Coach-Counselor-Mentor-ConsultantIf you are in any type of transition regarding work or life, or you are considering a transition, then you may have thought about getting someone to coach you through the process. For example, you may be seeking a new direction for your future because it’s clear what you’ve been doing isn’t working any longer. Alternatively, you might know exactly what you want to do; but you can’t see how to bridge your past experience with your aspirations for a new career.

These are reasonable times to consider getting yourself some coaching, especially if you have friends or loved ones who are more than willing to give you their opinions of what you should do.

Friends and loved ones are the most dangerous part of making a change.

There’s a bundle of reasons, and here are some. Friends don’t like to see friends change. After all, you are friends because of who you are now, not who you could become. Loved ones have a stake in who you are now, including how you earn a paycheck, the days of the week you have free time to spend with them, and the chores you do to keep a household or relationship humming.

Most of my coaching clients delay their decision to get coached, about 6 to 36 months past when they should have reached out. Why? They rely on friends and loved ones for advice! The very people who have a stake in your remaining in your present form, doing the job you do, the way you do it, and not adding any further burden of either greater status or dependency on them.

Even knowing this, most people “crowdsource” the most important decisions in their lives. Recently, a client came to me because she was standing at a school with other young moms. They weren’t even people she knew well, just other parents who shared carpool, cupcake making and fundraising with each other. Their only connection was their kids attendance at the school, which of course means the birthday parties, T-ball and cascade of events that bring families together under the circumstances.

“The other moms asked me what I do,” Sarah reported to me. “So, I figured I better do something, since everyone was an attorney, business owner, or had some occupation. Turns out I was the only mom who had taken some time off.”

Peer pressure doesn’t stop when you graduate high school. These largely anonymous people had crowdsourced Sarah out of her decision to stay home. She’d made the decision to help her family stabilize while their first child entered school and her husband took a job that required him to travel.

Whether or not Sarah was ready to return to work, is a personal and financial question. Yet, like most people, she was polling strangers – or at least accepting their vote – about her life.

That’s a moment for coaching. Sarah had met me at a 2-day seminar I gave on personal branding, and she reached out to get a one-on-one session. In 90 minutes we solved her problem, got an action plan together, and set her on making decisions that were truly relevant to her situation. She’ll check back with me for a progress report in eight weeks.

So, when is the right time for coaching? Whenever you find yourself polling others about your life choices, whenever you fear the criticism or lack of support from friends or loved ones, and whenever you need clear answers to questions that confound you.

I know. I’ve been coached on every significant life change I’ve ever made. It’s part of my success equation. Should it be part of yours?

Do you have a question you want to ask a coach? Email it to me at Nance@NanceRosen.com. Subject line: Question. I will write back to you, with some insight to move you forward.

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Shocking Truth About Self-Esteem Revealed!

March 25th, 2015

career, nance rosen, successFor the last 30 years US parents, schools and youth athletic teams were all fed a singular, central message about how to rear successful children and guess what? They were wrong. All the developmental literature and experts have been pumping out the message: self-esteem is the #1 ticket to success.

That’s why all the kids playing T-ball got a trophy, whether they won or not. Some leagues didn’t even keep score. After all, athletic contests weren’t about athletic ability, training, or practicing. And, they certainly weren’t about real winning. They were engineered to be all about building up your self-esteem. Hence, the endless ribbons, trophies and even grade inflation that were meant to fill up the well of self-esteem that would somehow flow over into a river of success.

Schools and parents were fed, and then recycled a stream of “build them up” rhetoric, because children were supposed to be protected from feeling the pain of poor performance and criticism. Competition and comparison were evil doers. Self-esteem was to be preserved at all times.

No one was better, we were all just different.

At least that’s the way it has been in the US. Of course, from other cultures we heard about draconian measures taken by so-called “tiger parents,” who pressured, demanded, and withheld any fun that could possibly get in the way of perseverance.

In the US, parents were supposed to be helicoptering around their kids, so that all possible praise and good fortune wouldn’t dim the bulb of self-esteem.

Turns out all that is hogwash. Self-esteem, earned or not, isn’t a causal factor of success. Self-esteem is a by-product of success. If not, you simply have a person with a bloated ego, poor self-management and a complete misunderstanding of what work is.

This is why so many managers are completely perplexed about their entry level employees. Many of these new workers seem to think that simply showing up is the job – and by the way, when is the next raise and promotion??? I hear an endless litany of complaints from their managers. These folks don’t spell check their work , they don’t finish their work, and they have only a very casual relationship with deadlines. Plus, they don’t get along with other people at work, clients included.

Someone owes us all an apology.

It’s not self-esteem that leads to success.

Self-control leads to success.

In the famous, “can-you-wait-for-two-marshmallows” test with young children who were sat in front of one marshmallow they could eat on-the-spot … you guessed it. What happened to the children who waited; that fraction of the group who exhibited self-control? Decades later, they were successful adults! The one-marshmallow eaters were far behind in wages, job titles and life in general.

Self-control – the ability to patiently wait, to think about future reward while working hard in the present – that is all you need to succeed.

So if you feel unjustifiably proud of yourself for having all those little trophies? Don’t worry. There’s a new chance, every time the sun comes up. Today, you can practice being polite, waiting your turn, or get working on something that is really difficult – and won’t pay off for years to come.

It turns out self-control builds character. And, that’s what it takes to pursue a vision for your own business or build a career in a company or industry. Now get to work!

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Are You Talking Stupid?

March 18th, 2015

authenticity, nance rosen, Personal Branding, soft skillsTurns out you are what you talk about.

If you fat shame yourself, then your brain lays down a new set of neural pathways to ensure you feel fat – even if you aren’t. Then, as you repeat your so-called problem to your friends or yourself, you develop even greater dissatisfaction with your body. The final gift from your lips? An increased potential for an eating disorder. That’s why you can no longer “feel fat” on Facebook. At least officially. Because it causes you to harm yourself.

So, let’s say your okay with your fat situation. Your body is okay. And you just said,

“Wow, I’m such an idiot in math. I am dumbfounded by Excel. I never really understood it, and the latest update is beyond me. ”

“Geez, I cannot write this report on time. I am awful at reports. I don’t even know where to start on these things.”

“Gosh, I am such a procrastinator. I keep putting things off. Then, I get so nervous I just rush to get them done. It’s never right, but I settle for done.”

“Man, I am always lost. I could have a GPS, a satellite helmet and a self-driving car. I would still get lost.”

“ Argh, I will never date again. I will never find one decent human being on this planet who loves me. I hate this whole relationship-thing.”

Ta da! You have just created your own life. These negative meditations are laying tracks in your brain, and your train of thoughts know exactly where to go: again and again. You trash talk yourself silently. Your trash talk yourself with friends.

In just a sentence or two each day, you trash your possibilities, your confidence and your happiness.

Next time you call yourself stupid? Stop. Then tell yourself why you are not stupid. Give yourself evidence when you have been just fine, maybe brilliant.

Whatever mantra you’ve been using to cause a lifelong problem, be it about fat, math, software, writing, procrastination, navigation, relationships or more? It is literally all in your head, because it’s been on your lips.

Coach yourself to success!

  1. Identify the personal traits you want to keep building into your personal brand and your personal intelligence.
  2. Find an affirming sentence.
  3. Set your brain to work finding the evidence of how great you are.
  4. Then lather, rinse and repeat.

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Not Blessed With the Bliss Gene?

March 12th, 2015

Brand Attributes, nance rosen, successYou either have it or you don’t. New neuroscience reveals that 20% of the population has what is best described as a innate marijuana-making machine in their brains, resulting in – among other things – a low probability of becoming addicted to opiates and the like. It’s a gene mutation, the good kind.

Beyond the ability to “just say no,” to substances, what does this so-called bliss gene really deliver?

  • Relaxation under pressure
  • Calm, steady judgment
  • Perspective when things goes awry
  • Immense self-control and patience
  • A cheery, congenial, and agreeable dispositions

So, if you’ve been aggravated about the literature on why tall men earn more than 10X their average heighted peeps, and why naturally thin people are viewed as superior in their ability to get work done on time and on budget?

You now have another fact of biology to disdain. Unless of course, you have that gene mutation. In which case, celebrate for: #whatyourmamagaveyou.

This mutant gene gives you a leg up on the ability to self-regulate, potentially the greatest skill you can have now in business. Yes, it is a skill; although, it’s clear today that’s it’s also a natural inclination for some of us.

Self-regulation is the ability to act gracefully or elegantly in even truly awful circumstances. No matter what’s off, you cause the least friction. Your interactions are streamlined. You use what you take and you take what you need, not a whit more and with no waste of time, talent or other people’s patience.

You can see why bliss gene blessed people are among the most likely to succeed.

What about the rest of us? What about the bipolar, ADD, hysterical, narcissistic, and dependent personalities among us? Are we DOOMED?

No. We are just special.

You may recall a time when parents were advised that not every child was going to be great at everything. No matter how much helicoptering Mum or Dad would do: there really would be failure. And that failure really would direct us to success.

Why is failure good for success? For the same reason that a “no” is as good as a “yes” in selling. A “no” allows you to move on.

What if you are easily irritated, fractious, with little patience for anyone other than your cat? You can move on to something much more self-centered than a large company or a one room office with everybody from the start-up eating onion sandwiches and playing basketball in the hoop over your desk.

Strengthfinders was supposed to give you a path to your bliss, by identifying your innate traits that would be fulfilled by the type of work you do. It was supposed to lead you to the right seat on the right bus. There’s been dozens of books and theories and self-assessments like this. And, there’s been books by folks like Daniel Pink that companies adopt in hopes that a set of core values, vetted by an expert, and written on a wall would be an organization’s salvation from bad bossing, sexism, racism, tribalism, or any other mentally challenged acts or beliefs of the people in the organization.

The problem? Just us. We oftentimes don’t believe what is plainly true. Not everyone is a company man (or woman). Not everyone can put up with everything that goes on in the mayhem of organizational life.

Yet you do belong among the working and likely wealthy, when the corporate gig repels you or expels you. You just belong to the gaggle of amazing superheroes who make it on their own. That includes the genius inventor, the insightful consultant, the there-when-you’re-needed-most freelancer, the call-me-and-I’ll-come-in contract worker, imaginative artisan, or even the tyrant of your own domain (AKA your own blog address).

Bliss gene or not: you belong. It’s just a matter of finding where your real bliss is. It just might be all about finding you.

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Can You Tell These 10 Stories?

March 4th, 2015

Getting Ahead, interviewing, nance rosen, Personal BrandingOften times in a meeting with a prospective client or employer, you want to tell a success story. You want to speak about something that you have accomplished. You want to have it directly connect to their issues, products, services, or something they can relate to.

What if you don’t have anything?

What if you are talking to someone in an industry where you have no experience?

What if you have never done anything great – or anything at all – that communicates how they could anticipate you would perform for them on their specific issues?

When you freeze up and you’ve “got nothing,” what do you say?

You tell the truth. You tell the truth about who you are and what you have done. No, you don’t say, “I got nothing.” You don’t have “nothing.” You have a lifetime of everything you have done.

When I ask candidates a question about their experience, sometimes I see this wild, fearful look in their eyes. In that moment, I know they have forgotten the most important thing about everyone in the room (or on skype or by phone).

They forget we are all just people. Real people, speaking to real people.

Here’s the ideal thing to say.

“I am concerned that I don’t have a direct example to give you. Would it be all right if I shared an experience that I think is relevant, and would you tell me if I am making a connection that makes sense, given this position (or project)?”

You are going to get encouragement to share your experience. It’s up to you to have stories in mind, prepared in advance, that get to some core issues that are almost unavoidably involved in any type of work. This would be where your personal intelligence and personal brand development work will win the day (or the project or the position).

What could be relevant? Your ability to

  • Identify the root cause of a problem
  • Sift through resources to find relevant data and findings
  • Use information to develop different solutions
  • Model implications or consequences, positive and negative
  • Set up decision-making rules and use them
  • Present choices to decision-makers
  • Cooperate with others to implement a decision
  • Test and measure results
  • Capitalize on positive results and re-purpose successful programs
  • Bounce back from failure and persevere by revisiting your initial work

That’s ten stories you’ve got to have “on trigger,” ready to articulate with details that make your experience come alive, especially when you have no direct connection. Worst case, you might not be the fit they are looking for this time. However, you will have made an indelible impression, and be top of mind when you do fit.

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7 Ways to Innovate and Prove You’re Worthy

February 25th, 2015

job search, nance rosen, soft skillsThe terrible truth of work is that almost anyone can do anything. I don’t want to make you paranoid, but open up the UCLA Extension course catalog, a MOOC or watch a few “how-to” YouTube videos, and you get my drift. Education and skills are the easiest things to acquire.

Leaving out advanced neurosurgery, the super-tasking executive producer of major live sports events on television, and maybe engineering stem cell regeneration of body parts: it doesn’t take long to come up to speed on most job requirements. That’s why this quote from Carnegie Institute of Technology rings so true:

85% of your financial success is due to your personal traits and ability to communicate, negotiate and lead. Shockingly, only 15% is due to technical ability.

When you consider how you are spending your time in preparation for a career or the advancement of your career, do your priorities make sense?

It may occur to you that you know less about your excellent personal traits than you know how to use Excel. You probably have spent more time setting margins of documents and unjamming your printer than you have working on the type of traits that actually matter to success.

You never regret a day of education; it’s simply the type of education that I am cautioning you about. Communication, negotiation and leadership flow from personal intelligence, which is the ability to self-regulate. That is, manage yourself and manage your interactions with others.

Part of self-management is gaining or polishing the one-of-a-kind traits you possess, so you can express them to the people around you. Of course, that is largely what personal branding is, although there’s a bit more to it.

Visibility and promotions largely come from being more of yourself, or as I said to Claire my teaching assistant: get bigger. You be you, just be more of the best of yourself. Become formidable, a force, and a monument to what your most valuable traits are. She is an elegant and intelligent person with a sharp wit, on her way to becoming a commander-in-charge.

That is the extraordinary magnitude of expression that you must exert for us to see you and respect you; then feel compelled to ask you to ascend over others in an area of your expertise, function, or team. That outsized version of yourself is what puts our trust into you. That’s how you create a positive reputation, really an uproar about how valuable you are to our organization.

If you know nothing else about yourself, consider that anyone can be a force of innovative ideas. Innovation is a process, more than it is an ability or knack. It takes external stimuli, which isn’t hard to get given the world at your fingertips via the web. Harvard Business Review recently added its seven ways to innovate, and any one of them will set you apart from your co-workers or other job candidates.

  1. Look for differences. Before you interview or attend a meeting, contrast what a competitor’s product does that is remarkably different from the company’s offering.
  2. Trend spot. Look at Instagram or Pinterest and see what colors, images, words, attitudes and photos are beginning to dominate the consciousness of the people who matter.
  3. Assess angry words. Read the hashtags, comments, and blogs for what is going wrong. In every problem of reasonable size, there are great opportunities.
  4. Question everything. Most businesses are way past the NIH (not-invented-here) mentality, and are actively seeking ways to modify the way people work, the way products are developed or distributed and the way messages are crafted.
  5. Look at the deviants. There are always “outliers,” as Malcolm Gladwell calls the fringe elements. What workarounds, avoidance behavior or personalized adjustments are people making?
  6. Go away. Take a field trip or informational interview to a place that does nothing like anything you are familiar with. The natural history museum, planetarium, or Bloomingdales can refresh your brain and ignite your creativity.
  7. See what’s working in other industries. Are hardware companies selling spare parts with new machines, so there can be on-the-spot repairs? Is deflating a football by the weight of a paperclip the key to winning the big game? How can you apply that in your field?

If you have not a thing to offer that is so much more magnificent than other candidates or competitors: these are seven ways to use your brain in a novel way. Think new. Think innovation. Think for yourself.

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