As many of my fellow contributors have written, the personal brand you create is one of the most important determinants of your success both inside and outside of the workplace.
We have talked about how it takes time and many steps to build up a strong reputation (let alone the work that goes into maintaining it). There are many ways to get there, but ultimately it is a laborious (yet rewarding) task no matter what path you take.
Your brand can’t survive without results
You may be very likable or have some unique skill or story that sets you apart from the rest, but without continual results to back up this “hype,” your brand isn’t all that valuable.
Anyone who has ever had a sales job before can relate to this. And for those that haven’t, sales is all about the business that you close. No matter how great your results were last year, last quarter or last month, it is all about the here and now.
You could be an incredible organizer, a keen communicator and a tenacious influencer, and it can be all for not without results. Results is really the bridge between theoretical and practical. I have seen many sales people that have great sales skills. Being someone who understands (in theory) all the steps you need to close a sale, how to read your customer, and how to overcome obstacles does not always lead to getting the customer to sign on the dotted line. Getting results is about “walking the walk” (and not just “talking the talk”). In the realm of taking a picture, it is like setting up the perfect angle with the perfect shutter speed and lens, but producing a bad print. It is like creating a great set of ideas for your boss but then failing to present them well. It is about finishing the job and following through.
The key component is “continual”
In the workplace, there is a proliferation of the “what have you done for me lately” attitude. A job well done yesterday is forgotten in the midst of the deadlines and pressures of today. While this can be hard to swallow at times, it is important for us to realize and adapt to this.
As I mentioned above, the key word in relating to driving results is “continual.” Getting results just once will rarely carry you forever. You need to show consistency.
The reason why continual strong results are so important is because of how fragile your brand is. We have all heard countless examples of people that were at the top of their games who crash and burn because of one mistake or because their ability to produce results dissipated. If you do well when you first get into a job or a role of leadership but the results taper off into terrible outcomes, then your brand will be tarnished. Moreover, as we have seen from the falls of the mighty, this negative mark always remains as a footnote (if not a headline) in the minds and records of others.
No matter how strong or well establish you are or how solid your brand is, I urge you to be mindful of the results you bring in. We are all allowed to have a bad day now and then, but if you let your focus and effort drop, you face a slippery slope. What begins as a little slip-up can cause significant reputation damage, causing you to have to rebuild what was once a strong personal brand all over again.
Aaron McDaniel, is a corporate manager, entrepreneur, author, public speaker and community leader. Aaron has held numerous management roles at a Fortune 500 company, being one of the youngest ever appointed appointed Regional Vice President at the age of 27, and is the founder of multiple entrepreneurial ventures. Aaron instructed a highly rated student-led course on leadership at UC Berkeley’s Haas Undergraduate School of Business and has a book, The Young Professional’s Guide to the Working World: Savvy Strategies to Get In, Get Ahead, and Rise to the Top, due to be out later this year. Aaron offers advice that helps young professionals build the foundation for a successful career. Visit his blog to learn more.