Career Warfare | Etiquette | Reputation

Career Warfare

10 Rules for Building a Successful Personal Brand and Fighting to Keep It

Author: David F. D’ Alessandro Publisher: McGraw-Hill Business Date of Publication: 2003 ISBN: 0071417583 Number of Pages: 216 pages About the Author

The Big Idea
In the ever changing world of business and enterprise, are you getting what you want, achieving your goals? Do you stand out among your competitors and colleagues? Do you want career advancement, better compensation and salary?

David D’Alessandro
A master brand builder, David D ' A l e s s a n d r o t ra n s f o r m e d traditional John Hancock into a financial services powerhouse, taking the firm public and engineering the merger with Manulife. At 50, David D'Alessandro was the youngest chairman/CEO in John Hancock's history. Rising to the top from the marketing side of the business was a rarity in the insurance industry and it worked in his favor. A straight-talking results-oriented leader who believes in full-bore marketing, D'Alessandro started as a vice president of corporate communications. His first ad campaign, “Real Life-Real A n s w e r s ,” w a s c r i t i c a l l y acclaimed, broke new ground, and caused a sales surge. D 'A l e s s a n d r o ' s t a l k s o f f e r audiences his “10 Rules for Creating a Killer Brand.” With trademark flair, crisp content and humor he shows how to create a “brand first” culture where “brand” takes priority over every other business consideration.

Whether you are a senior executive or an entrepreneur or an employee, this book will show you the best way to succeed, accomplish your personal and career goals, outshine your competition and differentiate yourself from the pack. David F. D'Alessandro shows you how to stand out from the crowd by developing your own “personal brand”; and provides valuable lessons in the etiquette of reputation building.

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Career Warfare by David F. D’ Alessandro

What is Personal Brand?
You need to realize that success does not only come from hard work and appropriately playing the part. To be successful in business and in your career, you must be able to distinguish yourself from the rest of the pack - you need to develop, build and defend your reputation. It is the integrity and the character you have shown that will decide if you will get the promotion you desire, the salary that you want or the business that you covet. Companies look for people who share the same values that they have and will enhance their reputation. The single most important thing to do in order to advance is to lay groundwork for an appealing personal reputation. You can do this through personal branding. Personal branding is a way you manage your career or business. It is a way of communicating that makes you different and special. By using these qualities you can distinguish yourself from your peers so that you can expand your success.

Rule 1: Try to Look Beyond Your Own Navel
The biggest obstacle in building a positive personal brand is your own ego. In order to develop an attractive personal brand, you need to have self-respect and you need to respect the people around you. You must be able to recognize the value of other people's approval and how others view you. Try to look at your actions through the eyes of other people. Remember: their views and judgment carries more weight than you think. Keep in mind that everything you do and say will be viewed as evidence of who you are. People make judgment on the basis of your actions and on what they see. You cannot build a good reputation if you can't view yourself the way they will be viewing you. Getting Noticed Getting noticed by powerful people in your organization might not be an easy task, but this step is crucial in establishing your personal brand. Below are some ways to get noticed: § Offer something that the organization is missing. Inject or offer some new ideas, views, and solutions to your company. § Become a source of news that could be or is vital to your team and organization. § Associate your “personal brand” to something prestigious and valuable and you will become valuable too. Know the best places to dine. Associate with the right crowd. Remember that access to the right people can do wonders. Developing a Reputation Getting noticed is the first step. You now must develop a personal brand (i.e. reputation) that would and can propel you to success. Here are 5 key qualities for a good reputation: 1. Earning the organization money.


Career Warfare by David F. D’ Alessandro

2. Telling the truth. 3. Being discreet. Have an excellent judgment when to speak and when to keep quiet. 4. Making people want to work for you. Be a people person and have a reputation for fairness. Remember, to have a successful personal brand, you need to: 1. Be self-aware. Keep in mind that what you do, what you say, can reflect greatly on you. People judge you on these things. 2. Be noticed by the right people. 3. Develop qualities that suggest you are going places.

Rule 2: Like It or Not, Your Boss is the Coauthor of Your Brand
You must realize and accept the fact that early on in your career, your boss will reap most of the rewards for ideas you give, money that you brought in, etc. This is how the corporate world operates. Do not fight the power structure. Instead learn how to play and live by it. Your boss has the power to make or break you. He has the power to determine how much money you make, what kind of experience you gain, and decides how your accomplishments will be highlighted. You must learn and manage your relationship with the boss. Bosses Want Three Things From You: 1. Loyalty. Be loyal to your boss and the company. Do not talk negatively about your boss to your co-workers or his boss. This creates a reputation for disloyalty. 2. Good Advice. Do not agree for the sake of agreeing nor disagree for the sake of disagreeing. Be balanced in your views and learn to weigh things before speaking out. Give advice before a decision has been made and not after where it would seem like you are challenging him. Develop a reputation for giving advice worth trusting. 3. To have their personal brand polished. Develop a reputation for helping your boss look good. Not only will you be noticed by your boss, but other people in the organization will remember this quality. Two Things You Want from a Boss: 1. Trust. If you are loyal to your boss, he will trust you. Your boss will give you opportunities that could change your life - promotion, better salary, a chance to be part of management or greater responsibility in the organization. 2. A Fair Exchange. If you allow your boss to take credit for your idea, he will give you something significant in return. This could mean better compensation, public credit for your effort, opportunities and experience to improve your skills and the chance to grow in the company.

Rule 3: Put Your Boss on the Couch

Career Warfare by David F. D’ Alessandro

Not all bosses will help you. It is best that you recognize what type of personality your boss has so that you would realize what advantages and disadvantages this person can cause to your brand: Basically there are seven types of boss profiles. Not all will fit but some will: 1. The Little League Parent. They act like you are family, demand more than they should and act that you owe them a lot of gratitude. You must understand that almost every little favor, or gesture done for you is done not out of the goodness of their hearts but to further their own brand. If you do well, you are made to realize that it is because of them. If you “screw-up”, however, prepare to be publicly criticized. 2. Mentor. This is the most ideal boss to have. You both gain strength from each other. Your success is also his success. He understands that as you gain experience and skill, your brand grows too. There is a fair exchange of ideas and praises. A true mentor makes sure that your reputation grows along with him. 3. The wastrel. These are bosses who expect you to do nothing but take care of them. If you know how to handle this type of boss, you can turn his weakness into opportunities to build your brand. Since you take care of his reputation, you might be able to meet people who are in power, create a database that is important to you and your company, and have greater opportunities to take on more challenging issues. 4. The Pariah. This boss has an abrasive personality and is disliked by the organization. The best defense is to form alliances (but never give out negative remarks) outside the circle of your boss; and develop a reputation as someone who is loyal to the organization. Be a company player. 5. The One-way User. In an ideal setting a boss offers an exchange for your efforts. This self-interested boss only wants to use you and your ideas and forgets the exchange part. He just wants you to further his own reputation. If you are hoping to build a successful reputation and a brilliant career, get out of the way of this boss and move on. 6. The Wimp. This insecure boss refuses to speak up, offer you praises and allow you to prove yourself because he is afraid that you will be noticed by other people and outshine him. The wimp boss will not allow you to develop your brand because he will not allow you to do anything. 7. The Know-it-all. This boss believes that he is never wrong. Since he assumes that he is always right, you have to follow whatever he tells you to do. This type of boss doesn't allow you to grow and think for yourself. He has nothing to teach you. Try to avoid this type as you will not develop your brand with him. There are four types of power you have against a boss who want to stop you from building your brand: 1. The power to avoid an obvious disaster. Know the reputation of a potential boss beforehand. Do not take on a job with someone who cannot help you


Career Warfare by David F. D’ Alessandro

2. 3. 4.

build your personal brand. The power to leave. The power to impress other powerful people. The power to someday impress the boss's reputation the same way he once influenced yours.

Rule 4: Learn Which One is the Pickle Fork
Good manners are crucial in developing and enhancing your personal brand for two reasons: 1. They will show that you belong in the world of senior executives 2. They will demonstrate your consideration and respect for the people around you. A quality that every good leader must have. Here are a few ground rules on business etiquette: 1. Do not embarrass yourself. Think before you leap and examine the consequences of your words and actions. Do not associate yourself with anything unethical and unsavory. Be careful of associating your brand with something that might blow-up in your face. 2. Dress properly and know proper table manners. Personal habits in food and clothing can affect how others see and treat you. If you want to succeed, you must dress and act the part. When dinning with client and bosses, make sure that your table manners suggest that you are familiar with the rules of civilized life. Manners that show a lack of knowledge will hold you back. Making assumptions about people you don't know can be fatal. Don't judge people right away. Be extra careful on judging people quickly based on their appearance, observe first. Snobbery will get you nowhere. Behave properly at company events. Office parties, victory celebrations, offsite meetings while fun are still considered work. You are still being judged by the way you act under these situations. Keep your mystery. Keep your private life separate from your professional life. Like it or not, you will be judged by the company you keep and the lifestyle choices you make. If you decide to make your private life public, be prepared to handle the consequences. Marriage is an Institution. It will color your brand. Do not let your mate make complaints that you will not take up, it will give you a reputation of a weakling. But do be sure you consider your boss's spouse as his “stand-in”. Talk to your boss's spouse with respect as if you are talking directly to your boss.





7. Patience is a virtue. Don't be impatient for results. Be patient in the way you handle people and situations. Before you say or do anything, stand back and assess the situation. Try to understand your colleague or boss's concern before your own.


Career Warfare by David F. D’ Alessandro

Manners are about consideration and respect, knowledge and patience. Try to learn the rules of good sportsmanship. By having good and proper manners, you will be considered remarkable by people who judge you, adding to your personal brand. Having good manners mean that you have the self discipline needed to become a good leader.

Rule 5: Kenny Rogers is Right
While it is important for you to seize the opportunity to build your brand, it is equally crucial to know what battles to take. Know when to keep on fighting and when to move fold. Below are some situations in which to avoid so that you will not waste your time and energy on efforts that will not move your brand: 1. Nepotism means “Not You”. Family owned and controlled corporations are one of the hardest organizations to move up to the highest tier. In these organizations, the best brand feature you can possibly have is the right last name. Learn all you can from a family run company. When it is time for you to lead, find another company. 2. If a Gang Controls the Turf, Set Shop Elsewhere. If you want to go places, do not waste your time in a company that makes it difficult for you to build your personal brand - a place where the power structure is biased against your brand no matter how good your performance may be. 3. Don't Let The Hazing Go On Too Long. Another place where you could lose your chance of building a strong brand is in established partnerships such as law firms and accounting firms. Don't stay if the experience is not adding to your personal brand. Don't stay too long if you are passed over for partner twice. Move on, find opportunities elsewhere. 4. If You are Talented, Expect to Have Your Desk Set On Fire. Entrepreneurial ventures create special danger if you want to build a strong brand. You can learn much from them but they are strongly territorial. According to the author, there are four reasons why it is hard to build a reputation under this situation. a. Everything is personal. Any show of independence is an act of betrayal. b. Entrepreneurs are insanely controlling. c. They don't like to share. d. They like to play “toy-soldiers” with their employees.

Rule 6: It’s Always Show Time
You must realize that reputations are not usually made by big events - sometimes it is those big events that smear your brand. What builds your reputation is your day-to-


Career Warfare by David F. D’ Alessandro

day behavior in the business setting, such as how you deal with people, how you make decisions, your work habits, etc. Little things matter the most. No moment is unimportant. Everything you do can increase or decrease your reputation, so be conscious of the impression you make everyday.

Rule 7: Make the Right Enemies
It is idiotic to try to build a successful reputation by being rude or combative. It is equally idiotic to build a successful brand by being afraid to speak up. Sometime you have to disagree with your peers or your boss. Sometimes you have to pick a fight or fight back. This chapter tells you how to do that without doing any damage to your reputation. The fact is, you will make enemies in your professional life. The more successful you are, the more enemies you will have. The smartest strategy to use is to concentrate on making the lives of your boss better. Your enemies will hardly ever confront you directly. Instead, they will destroy your reputation through malicious gossip. Do not allow yourself to be eaten by vicious gossip. Instead, learn to recognize the signs that a campaign is being made against you and fight back. Find out what is being said and fight it. If someone undermines your authority and is disloyal to you, do not tolerate him. There is no mercy for disloyalty, fire him. The best personal brands include courtesy, fairness, tolerance, self-respect and having good and proper manners. However, a small amount of ruthlessness is good for your brand. Your reputation will not suffer much if you fight your enemies, but it will suffer if you lose your self-respect.

Rule 8: Try Not to Be Swallowed by the Bubble
Once you are successful in building your brand and is rising in the ranks, do not lose sight of the forest. Do not be too full of yourself that you will be swallowed by success. It is bad for your humanity, and bad for your career. Here are 6 suggestions for avoiding the bubble: 1. Be skeptical of your own genius. 2. Surround yourself with equally skeptical people. 3. Keep friends that remind you that you're human and keep your feet firmly planted on the ground. 4. Have some sympathy for your victims. 5. Develop interests other than golf. Do have something that reminds you that the world is bigger than your professional life. 6. Remember who feeds your family. Don't lose touch with your clients and stockholders.


Career Warfare by David F. D’ Alessandro

Always remember that people with great brands stand out because they use success to connect to the rest of the world. It is important that you win the approval of the community. Three powerful ways to build goodwill: 1. Treat the press respectfully. 2. Work hard to make your organization successful. 3. Give something back to the community.

Rule 9: The Higher You Fly, the More You Will Be Shot At
Everybody makes mistakes. The higher you are in the ladder of success, the more likely that your mistakes will be highlighted. Accept the fact that bad press comes with prominence in any field. Here are the rules for minimizing the damage from any negative press and maximizing your chances of turning these threats into advantages: 1. Prevent the spread of negative news. Explain things before they become problems. People would appreciate it if they get the news straight from you. Frankness is an advantage. 2. Do not try to lie about the issue, cover it up or minimize it. Once bad press is launched against you, try to explain it in the best possible way. Express your point of view. Telling a lie will give your brand some serious damage and you will lose your credibility. 3. Avoid the two types of stories that will most likely provoke bad press: confirmation story (where you confirm suspicions about your brand) and “cross-cut” story (where you prove that some key features of your brand are lies.) Both will damage your reputation. 4. Don't blame other people for your mistakes. 5. Don't try to be your own lawyer. Get advice from other people to get a realistic picture of the situation. 6. Don't let them see you sweat. Handle bad press with care and it will enhance your brand.

Rule 10: Everybody Coulda Been a Contender; Make Sure You Stay One
Here are ten recommends you can use to help you keep the momentum even if you are middle-aged or in mid-career: 1. Set yourself to be distinct from your peers. Since you are constantly being compared to your peers, don't be afraid to offer something unique or distinctive. 2. Don't give up easily. Don't throw in the towel immediately because of a setback or two. Learn from your mistakes and turn it into an opportunity.


Career Warfare by David F. D’ Alessandro

3. Don't be afraid to ask. Ask for opportunities, challenges and promotions. 4. Don't allow your boss to think you are easily bought. Never pass up a bigger challenge or opportunity for a small increase in your paycheck. 5. Be ready for opportunities in unexpected places. 6. Promise to do or accomplish something difficult or risky and deliver. 7. Develop a circle of trust. Have a small circle of people whose advice you can trust and who can give you sound advice. 8. You are never too old or too powerful to change your brand. Build your brand everyday and learn to make adjustments to your brand. 9. Don't lie, cheat or steal. 10. Be cautious of the reputation you are building everyday.

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