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Define your personal brand and add value to your employer

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Recruiters who define and build their personal brand are more productive workers and better at engaging clients, says Gallup global brand strategist, Blaise James.

According to James, your personal brand can help you become invaluable to your company. It can also "help you map out the best of who you are and apply it to the best of what your company is".

Define your brand

If you haven`t defined your personal brand, your first step should be to write a statement of purpose, James says in an interview in Gallup Management Journal. This will be "a guide to how you`ll conduct yourself and a filter for the decisions that you`ll make as you deliver your brand".

As an example, James says, an HR manager might state: "I`m in the business of providing senior managers with the human capital they need to feel confident in leading our company to growth."

A statement of purpose is good, he says, "but it`s possible that someone could replicate it".

Therefore, the second step is to determine your point of view - "your beliefs and unique take on the world". You do this by completing the sentence: "I believe the world would be a better place if..."

"This exercise is valuable to establishing your personal brand because it`s hard to replicate beliefs," James says. "They also give you a real motivation for doing what you do. Most people and companies never answer this question for themselves, let alone for their consumers."

Your beliefs provide the why for your statement of purpose, he says. "The answer why really helps us differentiate ourselves. For corporations, this why statement can be incredibly motivating to employees who deliver the brand."

Finally, a principle statement articulates how you act on your purpose, James says. "Either you make good on [your principles], or you compromise your purpose. These statements begin with phrases like: `I always...` or `I only...` or `I never...`."

Some examples of principle statements, he says, are: "I will only work for executive directors who have real vision" or "I will always ensure that I have a yearly strategy in place to guide marketing initiatives."

Your personal brand can`t be everything to everyone, he points out, so be specific. "You can`t stand for everything or you stand for nothing. You have to focus."

Become an "embedded entrepreneur"

To think as an "embedded entrepreneur" is new to most people, James says.

But viewing themselves in this way gives workers a sense of control. "Right now... most workers still have jobs, but many of them are feeling uncertain and fearful.

"Having a personal brand also helps you realise that meeting your goals matters as much as meeting the company`s," he says. "When you`re pursuing your goals - and they`re aligned with your company`s goals - you`re much more engaged to act in the company`s and the [client`s] behalf."

Embedded entrepreneurs, James says, "point their brand towards the problems of the business".

Employees who know what their talents are and know what their brand is are more productive than those who don`t, he says. "Anything that helps people express their talents leads to increased engagement, which benefits the company. Ultimately, people feel more engaged in their jobs when they`re coming up with ideas, thinking creatively, and pursuing an agenda - being proactive rather than reactive."

According to Gallup`s research, people who work from their talents are more likely to be engaged; engaged employers are more likely to engage clients; and engaged clients are much more profitable to your business.

"So if you`re a CEO, you want your workers to know their talents and use them to construct their identities in the company. That takes some work, some really profound thought, but it`s worth it - self-branded employees are self-directed and more innovative. They`re problem solvers, and they`re a lot more engaged."

Ultimately, he says, employees must develop their own brands. "It`s a personal process that factors in someone`s whole life. It`s not top-down - it works from the bottom up."

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