Archive for the ‘Tribe’ Category

Personal Brands are Today’s Leaders, Not Tomorrow’s

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

GirlOuch! I keep reading about personal branding being a tool that sets you up to be tomorrow’s leaders. Why do old people always say this to young people? And, why do young people repeat it?

Does anyone wake up in the morning and say, “I hope I’ll be tomorrow’s leader.” When they wake up the next day, they a) discover that hope is not a strategy, and b) that tomorrow is yet another day away.

Don’t be fooled by anyone who says you can’t lead today. Truth is: if you’re not leading something today, someone else is. And, they aren’t waiting for you to wake up and say, “Thanks for keeping my spot warm, move over, I’m leading now.”

They will lookdown at you from their perch of leadership (no matter how minor) and kick you back down among the crowd of followers. (They probably won’t actually kick you. What they will do is more covert: steal your ideas, not pass along a great concept you offered up or just talk you down to their leader.)

Personal brands of earth: wake up. It’s today. Lead today. Whenever it turns out to be tomorrow, you just keep on leading. Don’t be fooled by that “tomorrow’s leader” ambition killer Kool Aid, even if it they say it’s good for you. It’s not. It’s good for them.

Seth Godin famously says that you belong to a tribe (maybe several) and within that tribe you can step up and lead it. Maybe you’ll lead a particular sub-group or lead on a particular project.

I’m sure you can think of something in every segment of your life, where you can initiate a plan, project or program and lead. Consider your work, social life, community, worship group, family, sports club, hobby… the places where you can exercise leadership is almost infinite.

When leaders above you and around you see you leading by virtue of your own initiative, you’ll be promoted as a leader of greater and greater authority. Your sphere of influence and control will widen. You’ll meet other leaders. You’ll recommend each other for choice assignments. You’ll invent. Become CEO of your life and probably others.

Study leadership, and make that part of your personal brand. Remember you take on responsibility for the people you lead, just as much as the outcome from their actions.

The sooner you take leadership roles, the better.

Right now would be good.

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Ten Commandments of Personal Branding – #7: Think Themes Not Words

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Giant WheelWho are you? You are a theme. You are one unified, coherent, understandable and consistent presence – if you are successfully branding yourself with your network, both real and cyber.

You can’t be all things to all people. You must be one distinguishable thing to your tribe. If you don’t choose, your tribe will assign a theme to you. Sociologically we cannot live among each other, without labeling.

You know this. You have that crazy friend, the boring one, the smart one, and the one who always knows what club is happening.  Most people didn’t sign up for the label they live with. Their bad.

Regular people live their lives and let others brand them. People like you, living with intention, making their mark indelibly, choose a theme. You must choose an authentic one – and use it in every communication, conversation, presentation and meeting.

Consider these, they may help you self-diagnose:

#1 Courageous, adventurous, brave and daring
#2 Encouraging, joyful, uplifting and fun
#3 Gracious, generous, giving, and thoughtful
#4 Funny, quick-witted, sardonic and comedic
#5 Current, hip, in-the-know and happening

Consider who’s who in a new partnership

Courage is the guy who puts his money down to jumpstart the deal. Encouraging is the guy who inspires others to contribute. Gracious is the person accepting the funds and thanking everyone for their efforts. Funny is the one who lightens the mood when the going gets tough. Current is the one who knows exactly where to spend the profits.

If you think you’re all of these themes, you’re going to have to spend some time alone, because no – you’re not all things to all people.

Ask yourself:

If you were with Gilligan, lost on an island with people who don’t know you well – what traits would undoubtedly define your attitude and interactions with them? That’s who you are. It may not be who you want to be. So act accordingly, or rather change your act accordingly.

When you like what you see, go ahead and let the world know.

Who are you?

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Ten Commandments of Personal Branding – #6: You Must be Consumed by your Tribe and Tribe Watchers, and Seen as a Servant-Leader.

Monday, December 14th, 2009

tribeThe drum beat, smoke signals, man-sized kettle slowly boiling bound strangers as warriors dance for vengeance or rain, that’s the old image of a tribe. Things have changed. Tribes are now considered groups of people who come together because of a compelling interest, connected on the web in forums or blogs, and occasionally at a Tweet Up. Even today, being a stranger is a losing proposition and reigning as a tribal leader is still the guy to be. The conditions, however, are less dramatic. The stakes however may still be life or death, for your personal brand.

Commandment #6: Be Consumed By Your Tribe

Of course, by “consumed,” I meant this in two metaphorical ways…

First, you must be authentically drawn to the industry, topic, idea and people you want to lead (your tribe per Seth Godin). At one time you were consumed by a group’s music, a lover’s magnificence, or a head-cold. By this I mean your thoughts were dominated by this one thing.

Ask yourself:

What subject and what group of people simply fascinates me? What am I drawn to read about, write about, talk about, investigate and sit endlessly through the night poking around the web finding new and arcane facts and opinions?

Look at your search history. What sites are consuming your interest? Who are your people – find them in these places.

Second, your number one priority must be fulfilling the needs of your tribe and the many ways you can get to them, to serve those needs. You must be genuinely willing and able to parent, lead, provide for, shepherd or otherwise serve the tribe, way more than most people in the tribe. Maybe not lead in every area, but in at least one significant area. And, make major, consistent and relentless improvements and opportunities for others.

Tribes need leaders, and your personal brand depends on your being seen and sought out as a leader.

For example, Greg Stewart is the Creative Director at Pegasus Media World. He happens to be consumed by Freemasonry. He’s engaged in a nearly lifelong journey of consuming everything imaginable about the group. He knows the myths, legends, history, famous people, deeds, misdeeds, odd turns and even the criticism and fears evoked by this group. He can compare its practices and traditions to almost any other practice, including some ancient religions that many theologians might not know. And, by the way he’s a creative director in publishing – so its a behemoth role to have taken on leadership of a tribe outside of his professional activities. But, he is simply and authentically consumed by this interest.

Greg is also consumed by his tribe and their needs. He has made himself a clearinghouse, central resource, education and entertainment center revolving around Freemasonry, Greg lays out a significant body of work at the website he founded and runs, Freemason Information. You can get his free eBook there. You can listen in to hundreds of podcasts featuring Masonic experts that he’s recorded. You can interact, be inspired and connect with the tribe there. Follow him and his blog posts, feed, tweets, and Facebook, from the blog.

You’ll constantly tend to your tribe via social media, forums, personal calls, emails, meetings and more. If you have an innovative and inclusive approach, that will create a leadership position for you. Consider how you can provide a unique and powerful platform such as a blog or forum for your tribe to gather about, contribute to and dwell.

Your tribe could be candle makers, cupcake bakers, crochet hobbyists, nanotechnology scientists, SAP programmers, accountants with small practices or like me: the tribe of people who are building personal brands via the web and on-ground opportunities. I am consumed by the sociological, psychological, and technological aspects of creating reputations in today’s online and on-ground environments. I want my tribe to find the best most satisfying jobs and business opportunities. My tribe consumes my tips, tactics, and techniques of creating and managing personal brands, and my philosophy and thought leadership. I give away a lot of stuff that teaches you how to market yourself, impress recruiters and win big contracts, because it nourishes me to nourish my tribe’s ability to leverage their personal brands. This status provides me with a huge audience, speaking engagements, book contracts, consulting gigs, media coverage and access to the leading people in many fields. Your leadership may do the same for you.

What will you consume today? And, who will be consuming you? The answers will help you define and find your tribe. Once you connect with your people via the many platforms on the web, or simply start by creating a blog, you are no longer a stranger. You won’t be boiled while others dance – if you have identified the right tribe.

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