The 2007 National Forum on Women in Executive Leadership in DC last week featured a track for my favorite demographic: The Emerging Woman Leader. Perhaps because so many senior women we have coached have said "I wished I learned this 20 years ago", I enjoy speaking to women who are embarking on their careers, to help them navigate the pitfalls and plateaus that women often hit in mid-career.
At the Forum, one of my two presentations was on Creating a Powerful Brand.
In a similar style to Jim Collins' Hedgehog concept for companies, here's how to create a powerful personal brand. When considering what you want your name to be synonymous with, start by drawing this 3-circle diagram.
Name each circle for one of the 3 essential elements of a great brand:
1) TALENTS: What are your greatest strengths, skills, and talents?
(Or, which new ones could you easily learn?)
2) PASSIONS: What are your passions
(i.e. what subject matter areas could remain endlessly fascinated with, for the rest of your life!)
3) MARKET: What does your company/industry/market need and want?
(... that you can be paid handsomely for)
Your challenge is to identify where the 3 circles overlap for you -- and what you could become known for in your career. Too many women try to follow only their their talents and passions, without first investigating whether there is a market that will reward them. It is vital that all 3 conditions are met, but when they are, you can build an outstanding reputation for yourself.
As one senior executive (a former partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers) shared when I interviewed her recently, "Be Famous for Something!" For her, it was closing big sales contracts. What will you be famous for?