Monday, June 7, 2010

Your Reputation - Always Important to Keep in Mind

I came across a great article that supported my earlier post on the value of personal branding, so I have provided it below as a reminder of the importance of keeping track of our personal brand.

The article also provides an interesting link to the past, reinforcing that this is certainly not a new idea. Enjoy...

"Building your personal brand" might strike you as a funny way of thinking about your career, but the idea has been around for centuries.

The ancient Greeks called it areté, and it meant being the best you can be. During the time of knights and castles, it was called "honor", and you were expected to defend it to the death. George Washington and men of his era were extremely concerned about maintaining and protecting their reputation. And in the 20th century, it might have been referred to as your standing in your community or your industry.

So "personal brand" is simply a new phrase for an old concept — how you present yourself to others.

You see, you know all the wonderful experiences you've had, and you're intimately familiar with all the capabilities you've developed as you've made your way through your career. That's always been an integral part of personal success.

Throughout history, it's also been important for men and women to understand how others perceive them, to manage that perception, and to guide it so that all of their other goals can be achieved.

It's the recognition that living in society with people, your success is as dependent on what others think about what you can do as it is on what you can actually do.

The big change in modern times is scale.

The Greeks had only to be concerned with people living in their city, knights with their honor within the kingdom, Washington with his reputation within the colonies, and in the 20th century your standing was dependent on your community and your industry.

What's changed is the modern economy. Companies can vaporize overnight. Whole industries can be upended by a change in technology, regulation, or globalization.

So what's important now is that your brand be known and available not only to the people of your city, state, country or industry, but to any professional at any time. You never know when you'll be tossed into a new industry, a new city, or a new company, so it's important for you to consider how you'll be perceived and how your background and skills will be interpreted by others.

Adding to the tumultuousness of the modern economy, modern technology has bestowed upon us Google, social networks, blogs, and a host of other means for others to learn about your "areté," your honor, your reputation, your standing, in ways other than speaking directly with you.

In that sense, then, building your personal brand is about understanding how you want your professional life to be seen by others, and then managing your presence in both the offline and online worlds towards that end.

So while it's a new phrase, it's an old concept.

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