• Learn How to Build a Powerful Personal Brand That Will Differentiate You and Allow You To Compete in the Global Marketplace.
  • Win Over Your Brand Audience Despite the Rise of Ad Blockers

    A few years ago ad blockers began to emerge which has greatly impacted the number of visitors and subscribers on a brand website. Since Google has updated algorithm and new apps have emerged these important online relationships have dwindled. The good news is there are a few non-intrusive ways to encourage people to stay on your website and engage.

    Today it is much harder to connect with the audience on a personal brand’s website when there are too many ads. By implementing a few strategies your brand can start growing your audience again.

    How can your brand effectively change its advertising approach and bring back more subscribers? Through reminders, ad placement, and daily follow-up.

    Use these strategies to help facilitate growth again without being intrusive on your audience:

    How to build a strong website with ads

    The following steps are things your personal brand can start doing today with better results.

    • Find out who your visitors are – Conduct target market research to determine exactly who is coming to your website and how many are leaving, especially due to advertising. Through this data you can discover whether they are using ad blockers. If this is the case, your brand can install a simple message to encourage them to turn this off as some users may not even realize they have this installed.
    • Request your website to be white listed – Approach your visitors with a simple, clear, and direct message with a reminder for them to “allow ads.” It’s important that you offer them something of value in your content and products or services to encourage them to white list your website.
    • Make it easy for the end user – Remove any hindrances to visitors coming to your website — especially for mobile users. Know exactly where ads should be placed for all devices, including computers or laptops. Run a speed test to determine whether your pages are loading too slow as this can lead to people turning away as quickly as they arrive.

    Taking the time to asses your brand’s website means investing some time and effort, but the payoff is great as you begin to see an increase in subscribers and sales. Stay up to date with the latest changes on Google in order to avoid any conflicts with their policies, and pay attention to how many ads are being placed on your landing page.

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    Posted in Personal Branding

    You Can Expect What You Inspect

    The things you care about you will pay attention to.

    That’s the point of this post.

    There is an old saying from the manufacturing and statistical process control world that says you can expect what you inspect.

    Which, if you have read Dr. Stephen Covey’s books, you may recognize this as one of his seven principles.

    Begin with the end in mind

    This is an easy thing to say and generally a pretty easy thing to do

    For those that are graduating this month you lived this. You set your mind to something and you delivered on it. However, as life and other challenges intervened you may have made a few changes along the way. And that’s OK!

    You set an expectation

    Whether you changed majors then or are looking to change jobs now you can set an expectation of what you want to see. Then, you can work backwards to fill-in the components of what needs to happen in order for that expectation to be met.

    You inspect your expectations

    This is something that’s been going on for thousands of years and it shouldn’t surprise anyone. But, a lot of times we find ourselves wrapped up in tasks and day-to-day activities that are not leading towards our expectations. This is a risk everyone needs to manage directly and deftly.

    You adjust your expectations

    This is where the book Essentialism comes in. Below is an excerpt from my post What’s your Vector, Victor?

    Essentialism Guides Your Vector

    There is a great book by Greg McKeown called “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” where he distills the essence of our daily efforts into one simple graphic. The graphic is a collection of vectors … and his point can easily be seen by how we may be allowing ourselves to become undisciplined by allowing our “vectors” to have reduced magnitudes and scattered directions. If you have the book … check out page six. Or click on the link above and go to “first pages” and see page 6,

    Every day you only have so much time and energy to give something. Make sure that when you apply that energy that it’s going in the direction that helps you achieve your expectations. Set checkpoints for inspecting your progress.

    Getting your Vectors Flying in Formation

    More specifically, set your expectations and then focus on getting your vectors flying in the same direction. When you set your expectations correctly AND inspect them periodically to make sure they are going in the right direction you will stand out in your career.

    It takes work and focus to do this day after day. But, the result is that you will achieve the things that are important to you.

    Just remember … you can expect what you inspect.

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    Posted in Career Development, Personal Branding, Success Strategies

    How to Make Your Employees More Creative at Work

    In every type of job, there is always room for creativity and innovation. It is not only art or technology that needs to be creative and innovative. Even in accounting there are ways to be more creative. For example; you can make more creative presentations. For this reason, if you want your employees to be more creative, try the below recommendations at work.

    • Hire Diverse People: Different people with different backgrounds see things from a different perspective. As a result, when they are trying to solve something, they come up with different solutions. Therefore, if you hire similar people with similar education and similar cultural values, you can miss out on different options. For this reason, try to hire individuals who come from different places and who are at different places in their lives to increase creativity in your company.
    • Get Out of the Office: Especially if the weather is nice, then, take your team outside of the office for a meeting or for brainstorming. You don’t need to take them far away. You can even go to the parking lot and sit on the grass. Having some fresh air clears your mind and helps you think better. Thus, your employees can get more creative and find out new ideas.
    • Seating Plan: Have an open seating plan in the office. Also, try to have a seating plan where different groups will engage with each other. Some workplaces require their employees to sit at different desks everyday so they can meet with new people, learn from them and share their knowledge with them. Hence, collaboration and creativity among employees rise.
    • Try Stand-Up Meetings: When you are standing-up, you are more focused on the topic because you don’t get distracted from computers or phones. When you are more focused, the meeting time becomes shorter allowing you to use that extra time for something else. Also, the energy level of your body when you are standing up is completely different than the one when you are sitting. Standing up makes you more energetic and alert. As a result, your brain thinks faster and your creativity increases.
    • Have an Inspiration Room in the Office: Make an inspiration room different than any other rooms in the office so when your employees want to take a break or need some inspiration, they can go to this room and refresh their minds. Also, make this room social so your employees can gather together and have a lunch or coffee break. It is best to decorate this room in an innovative design to reflect that creative feeling so you may want to work with an interior designer for this.
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    Posted in Employer Branding, People, Personal Branding, Skill Development

    10 Unusual Branding Tips That Experts Swear By

    What’s an unusual (online or offline) branding tip you swear by?

    The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

    1. Don’t Be Relatable. Be Authentic.

    The most successful brands are relatable, period. However, that relatability is a byproduct, not the driving force. Brands that try too hard to be relatable end up sacrificing what makes them truly unique. Be authentic, and focus on what sets you apart. Although you may not generate a huge following immediately, the die-hard fans (a.k.a. brand ambassadors) you’ll earn are what lead to real longevity.   – Bryce WelkerCrush Empire 

    2. Embrace Simplicity

    People get too caught up in gimmicks and creative ways of branding. Branding is about relating to your target audience, demonstrating that you know what you’re talking about, and that you have the expertise to serve them and meet their needs. The best way to brand yourself is by knowing who you are and knowing who you’re serving.   – Thomas SmaleFE International 

    3. Handwrite a Note

    In a noisy world of countless online, digital platforms, in real life communication has skyrocketed in value! I’ve recently been obsessed with a card-sending service that delivers chic, handwritten cards. Yes, I’m talking snail-mail! After a great meeting, I jump on Postable (or similar) and send old-school “thank you” notes. This easy gesture sets us apart from the crowd!   – Cooper HarrisKlickly 

    4. Create Slack Channels for New Contacts

    Among teams in the startup ecosystem, Slack has become almost as ubiquitous as email. Depending on the crowd, I have started to use Slack to connect with new people that I meet through networking or through various projects. Dedicating a channel to a person instills a level of importance, and it is supremely easy to stay organized at a level that text messages and email does not allow.   – Ryan BradleyKoester & Bradley, LLP 

    5. Don’t Split Test

    I’m on the radio every day and I notice some of my peers in the space have incredible personalities on the air, but not so much in real life, and vice versa. Doing this causes confusion for people interacting with you and leaves an intriguing taste in one’s mouth. Instead, be the already awesome you. It’s simple: People connect with people who are like themselves or like who they want to be.   – Abhi GolharReal Estate Deal Talk 

    6. Put Yourself in Their Shoes

    Customers like to know that you believe in your own products and can relate to their pain points. Entrepreneurs who are also a user or consumer of their own products can help generate authenticity around the value proposition of their business. Putting yourself in their shoes help identify pain points without having to wait for a customer to reach out to you and provide feedback.   – Sohin ShahInstaLend 

    7. Be Candid, Transparent and Honest About Your Product

    Always avoid the hard sell with people, because most individuals deal with entrepreneurs on an extremely regular basis, and so they are accustomed to glib sales talk and slick tactics. Be candid, transparent and honest about your product or service. Authenticity comes from an honest portrayal of yourself, such as “why did you get into this company to begin with?” That is where your best pitch lies!   – Luigi WewegeVivier Group 

    8. Underdress and Over-Deliver

    There is nothing better than walking into something slightly underdressed and completely over-delivering value-wise. I’m not suggesting being disrespectful, but being unique, having long hair or wearing jeans is a great trademark for people whose work is brilliant. If you are that confident in the value you provide, your brand can be more noticeably more casual and unassuming.   – Matt WilsonUnder30Experiences 

    9. Play the Long Game

    There’s a higher return on investment by engaging with one or two people offline as opposed trying to interact with every single person on social media or at events. Whenever I’m trying to build my brand (which is daily), I always aim for one great conversation a day. Whether it’s a potential customer, mentor, employee or influencer, it’s about consistency. Imagine the benefit of engaging one new person a day for a month.   – Krish ChopraUnited Medical Rotations 

    10. Break the Rules

    When it comes to branding, so many companies stick to the traditional rules for fear of something not working.  I’m a big believer in taking risks, putting yourself out there and breaking the rules.  Your customers will recognize you for thinking outside the box and taking an approach that all your competition isn’t willing to take.   – Renato LibricBouxtie Inc 

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    Posted in Personal Branding

    How Interacting in Professional Groups Can Help Your Brand Grow

    Facebook groups have been a a long-standing place where people meet, which is good news for brands. Pages have seen a decline in reach since the latest algorithm changes, but still remain a place for promoting your brand with the use of advertising. By engaging in niche groups you can build your fan base and create more visibility.

    Is it possible to still have an organic reach on Facebook? The answer is yes, and the influence from groups for your personal brand is a tremendous benefit to that strategy.

    When you become active in groups on Facebook you are building relationships for the long term. It’s important to first know how to make this successful for your business without using this tool as a place for direct selling.

    Groups and Their Influence on Facebook

    Here are several key strategies to a successful networking strategy that will drive more people to your Page:

    • Approach a group with its community in mind – Brands should save their sales message for their Page and email marketing campaigns. Engagement is the key to attracting a fan base along with sharing valuable information — eventually members will want to know more about your Fan Page and company.
    • Discover what your target market is interested in – As your brand shares information, answers questions, and engages with members you can use this information to gather new content ideas that are specifically geared to your audience.
    • Cross promote events – Not only can you share your next event on your Facebook Page, but this can be announced to your fellow group members as long as it offers something of value for them. This could be a free webinar on a topic they are interested in her an offline event where you can personally meet people in your area.
    • Share your blog content – An article that is written about the main pain points of your community should also be showcased in your group. What better way to help solve problems than offering free advice? Members will appreciate the information and your website will benefit from more subscribers.

    While a Facebook Page is about branded content, images, video, and promotions a group is more about creating meaningful relationships that build a strong community. Over time members will naturally be drawn to your personal brand’s Page, and this can cross over into your other social networks as well.

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    4 Best Steps to Your Dream Job

    No one needs to reiterate that today’s is a difficult job market and that regrettably, many people are looking for jobs for extended amounts of time—sometimes for years! As a career coach, I often work with such people, and I notice that they have things in common:

    • None of them have a well-thought-out career management plan.
    • None of them have a thorough and well-integrated career search campaign.
    • Most are just looking for a job.

    When I try to diagnose where the problem is, I find universally that (1) they continue practicing what worked for them in the past; (2) they follow what other job seekers have suggested to them; (3) most of them are simply lost because of not knowing what to do next and are borderline depressed due to their repeated failures to generate positive activity; and (4) they do not have a plan containing a series of certain specific activities that are necessary for them to accomplish in order to reach the goal.

    This article cannot cover all of the information I recently presented to a group of job seekers for over an hour, but here is the essence of it. The four elements of a successful job search process are:

    1. The creation of a marketing plan
    2. The preparation of job search tools
    3. The physical marketing of oneself
    4. A continuous plan for improving the process

     

    While creating the marketing plan, you should first learn about yourself. Second, you should assess your marketable skills. Next, you should learn the ways of finding a job in today’s marketplace. And last, you should map out what you want to do. This is the stage in which to engage a career coach. Hiring a career coach will speed up the process, and you’ll learn from a pro, get unbiased feedback, will be kept on track, and acquire the skills for negotiating an equitable compensation plan.

    The next major campaign objective is to have an excellent résumé. Good and very good résumés get failing grades in today’s economy because plenty of excellent résumés are available. I strongly suggest using a recommended professional résumé writer. While such professionals are not cheap, an excellent one is worth every penny. Professional résumé writers provide your key for unlocking the door to an interview. Otherwise, you’ll just be praying to be called in, and that can take a long time. Once your résumé is completed, you need to develop your little vignettes and success stories. At this point, you’ll need to learn how to work with a select group of recruiters, how to use job boards, and how to establish a system for keeping track of all of your activities via a searchable form; Excel works well for this.

    The difficult part starts now. You need to market yourself by participating in job search networking groups. Those who live within a distance of, say, a hundred miles from New York, can profit from a comprehensive database of job search networking groups found on the landing page at landingexpert.com. Self-marketing includes good collaterals such as strong cover letters, a persuasive elevator speech, a detailed LinkedIn profile, and effective use of LinkedIn. Joining Yahoo! groups and LinkedIn groups could prove helpful as well. And last, you need to identify your target companies and go after them ferociously.

    Now comes the last step, which is to continue improving the process. This includes embellishing your list of success stories and frequently practicing mock interviewing.

    As you can see, this is a rigorous and demanding career campaign plan. To be good at it, you have to devote at the very least 40 hours a week; and that doesn’t include time spent commuting to meetings. By following this plan, you’ll get not only the satisfaction of accomplishment but also the distinct possibility of favorable results. Good luck to you!

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    Posted in Personal Branding

    Play Hard, Work Harder: How to Stay Productive This Summer

    Summer has arrived, you can’t take fault for a wandering mind. Whether you daydream about white sandy beaches, cool mountain campsites or bustling metropolises, your mind has left on vacation even if you’ve stayed put. The only bad part about a mental getaway is, well, having to work.

    Fortunately, there’s plenty for you to do to ward off the thoughts and actions that’ll derail your productivity this summer. Try these five tips to maintain your hardworking benchmark, so when it is time for your vacation, you’ll have truly earned it.

    1. Dress the Part

    If your office attire translates into your finest pair of swim trunks or your brightest, most colorful beach caftan, you’re setting the wrong mood for the workplace. We know it’s unlikely you’ll go that casual with your work gear, but the simplest summer wardrobe swaps will make you feel more on vacation than in the office.

    For example, imagine you head into the office in flip flops to make your commute easier and breezier. Be sure to bring along a pair of professional shoes so that you lose that tropical accessory as soon as focus time rolls around. Forego your favorite sundresses for classic workplace silhouettes, no matter if casual Friday calls your name or not.

    Just make sure what you wear falls into the category of “work apparel” and you’ll be good. According to Forbes, “Whatever people decide to wear, as long as it is designated as work apparel they’ll get more quality work done because they’ll be more focused.”

    1. Maintain Your Health

    If your job takes you outdoors, listen up: You hold the reigns in maintaining your health so you can continue doing your job. A sidelining injury will only halt your own productivity.

    Staying safe while working in summer heat requires some planning on your part. For example, you’ll have to make a point to avoid outdoor labor during the hottest parts of the day, so you don’t overexert yourself or overheat. Wearing sunscreen and light fabrics; working in the shade; and taking plenty of breaks resemble other ways to avoid such heat-related side effects as sunstroke, heat exhaustion and sunburn.

    1. Make a To-Do List

    If your second job sounds a little like daydreaming, make sure to tether yourself to earth with a to-do list that keeps you on track. Rather than retain a running toll of what you have to accomplish in the short and long term, whip up a new to-do list every day of a reasonably attainable set of goals you want to achieve by the end of the day.

    Debate constantly circulates as to whether or not to-do lists help or hurt your productivity. It all comes down to the length of your list: a long list will feel impossible to complete, so you won’t try. The right to-do list will comprise of easily actionable items which can reasonably reach completion by the end of the day.  With a little practice, you’ll get it down — and knock your productivity quotas out of the park.

    1. Become a Morning Person

    The sun rises sooner in the summer and stays with us for longer hours throughout the day. Take advantage of the sunshine, especially if you want to increase your productivity.

    Start setting your alarm clock for earlier — and, no, you can’t press snooze — to reap the many benefits of waking up to productivity right off the bat. Getting into the habit of exercising or meditating, planning for the day ahead, etc., represent quick little activities you can tack to the start of your morning schedule to ensure a day’s worth of productivity.

    1. Enjoy the Weather

    Yes, you read that right. Don’t think productivity equates to cooping up in your office and never, ever leaving ‘til the bell tolls at 5 or 6 p.m. Instead, relish in the fact that research has shown time and time again that a bit of a break from your desk can work wonders regarding productivity.

    Even if you stand up and step away from your computer for a few minutes, you’ll combat the mental fatigue that comes with constant work and repetitiveness. If you combine your brain’s need for breaks with the naturally productivity-boosting effects of nature, then you might hit the jackpot.

    Grab a co-worker or fly solo as you head outside of the office doors for a break of fresh air, a quick walk around the building or a sunny lunch away from your desk. Seriously — simply seeing the color green on a piece of paper made participants in one study more creative in a set of tasks. Imagine what a bit of summer sunshine on the trees will do for your brain.

    This tip goes to show that, yes, a happy medium exists when it comes to summertime work responsibilities. Yes, you have to go to the office and, yes, you have to continue performing as you did this spring, winter and fall. But you can find little ways to enjoy your summer while still on the job, and that will tide you over until your turn comes around to jet off on the vacation you spent so little time daydreaming about.

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    Posted in Workplace Success

    How to Prepare for a Conference

    Attending a conference can be overwhelming or very productive. This totally depends on you. If you go there prepared and invest your time and energy, then you can get the most out of it. Below you can find tips to prepare for a conference and get the return of your commitment.

    • Learn the Schedule and the Presenters: Look at the conference schedule and find the presentations that you are interested in. Also, study the speakers and identify the ones that will beneficial for you to meet. Research their online profiles and learn their backgrounds so when you are talking with them, you can mention a few key points that you learned through your researches. Moreover, don’t forget to mention why they should meet with you and what you can do them for them as well.
    • Present Well: If you are one of the presenters, then, pay attention to the content of your slides. Make your slides entertaining. Don’t use too many bullet points and make your slides look overcrowded. Instead, use graphs and pictures whenever possible. Don’t use too much animation in transitions between slides unless you are absolutely sure that all of the animations will work. Remember that simple is always better and less is always more. Also, take every opportunity to connect with your audience.  Look your audience in the eyes.
    • Take Care of Logistical Details: If the conference is in another city, don’t forget to make travel and accommodation arrangements. Don’t leave everything to the last minute. Otherwise, you may come across with unwanted situations such as overbooked flights or hotel rooms. Make yourself familiar with the conference area so you can plan how you are going to make your transfer between the hotel and the conference venue. If the conference is in your home city, then, learn how to get there and how long it takes so you can plan being there on time with your chosen method of transport such as driving, taking a bus or using the metro.
    • Use Social Media: Use social media to join the conversation related to the conference. Use the official conference hashtag when making a post and find others who used this hashtag to connect with them. In this way, you can gain new followers or connect with them using their LinkedIn profiles and grow your network. You can even arrange a social gathering with these people before the conference is over so you can meet face to face. By the way, don’t forget to bring a lot of business cards with you because you will need them during the conference.
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    Posted in People, Personal Branding, Skill Development, Success Strategies

    How to Balance the Output-Input of Social Networking

    Social media marketing is a place to build community — so where do you find the right balance between selling your brand’s products or services and building relationships? There are several ways you can make your marketing strategy both effective and influential.

    It is important for your brand to be actively involved in networking with your community on a regular basis. Not only does this establish trust, but also helps you connect with other influencers in your industry who can help spread the word about your business.

    Today there are over 300 plus different social networks online, and the top platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest are all essential in building your audience. The key to success for your personal brand is presented here with ideas that will help you attract more interested prospects.

    Powerful Social Media Marketing Techniques

    The following are some ways your personal brand can maintain a balance between attracting sales and building relationships:

    • Choose the right followers – While having a large number of followers is good it’s really the quality that counts, especially if you want to attract people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer. You can find people through offline events in your industry, live video events or podcasts, Twitter chats, webinars, ect.
    • Find out what content to share – Online communities and social groups are a good way to learn more about the needs and desires of your audience. This enables your brand to dive deeper into conversations and even answer some of their most pressing questions, which can be used for content ideas later on.
    • Cross promote on multiple channels – With the use of social media management tools you can share your tweets and posts across several platforms at once in order to reach a wider audience. Tailor these for each network such as a short video for Instagram or an informative infographic on Pinterest.
    • Create a schedule ahead of time – In order to be more efficient and remain active online you will want to create a full content calendar for not only your blog, but your social networks as well. This eliminates the procrastination temptation and helps you stay focused on the more important things like nurturing your relationships with your leads and customers.

    As marketing continues to evolve and reach into new places like mobile and augmented reality your personal brand must learn to keep this all in balance in order to maximize your time and build an authentic, personalized persona. These steps will help you to forge better relationships and increase your subscriber rate on your website.

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    Posted in Personal Branding

    Ask One Question to Help You Set Your Priorities

    Warning: This will come across as harsh.

    Being that this is the graduation season this might be the most critical nugget you (or someone you know) needs to put their career on the right path. By asking The One Question you may be able to set your career on the perfect trajectory. But, at what cost?

    By cost I am referring the the nature of being a generalist or a specialist. While they are not perfectly correlated I have noticed that specialists are being rewarded within today’s business environment and it’s why I wrote The Rise of the Specialist.

    Am I right? I want to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comments. If I’m completely off base tell me. Ok?

    I’m noticing a trend in people I work with these days. While it’s true I have worked with and continue to work with people in the tech industry I’m pretty sure this One Question mentality is pervasive across almost every industry. People are being rewarded for focusing on a specific set of deliverables … and nothing more.

    My observation is that people are being dissuaded (aka punished) for being more curious and seeking a more generalist point of view.

    After reading through this and thinking about it take 60 seconds and consider:

    • Does this model work for you?
    • Does it make sense to you?
    • Is it career limiting? (or expanding?)

    The Solution is The One Question

    Ask yourself … What do I get paid to do?

    That’s it. One simple question.

    Whether you are starting a career or 20 years into a career this one question may be a hard question to ask and perhaps an even harder question to answer.

    My recommendation for success:

    Focus On The One Question

    I’ve seen so many people narrow-cast their interests to focus explicitly and exclusively on the very narrow and specific tasks they have been assigned that I have come to realize that this is a trend. And, it’s why I wrote this post.

    What gets measured gets done!

    This statement — What Gets Measures Gets Done — has been attributed to a lot of people over the years. The first time I heard it was at a Tom Peters event. So, for me … this is a Tom’ism.

    And, Tom is right. If you want to succeed (at least in todays business climate) …

    Ask yourself … The One Question.

    Ask yourself … What do I get paid to do?

    If you don’t know the answer … re-read your job description. Ask your peers. And, ask your boss.

    Then focus, focus, focus on whatever it is you get paid to do.

    When you can do this you will stand out in your career and people will begin to recognize you for your ability to execute. I think it remains to be seen if this level of extreme specialization is just a trendline or those that practice it so religiously can be promoted to higher levels within the organization. Where those higher levels often require and expect people to be more generalized in their approach to managing people, processes and technology.

    Time will tell.

    But, no matter what you do or where you are within your career take the time to ask yourself … The One Question.

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    Posted in Career Development, Personal Branding
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