“Hi – I’m Don Lee. I help companies build growth engines.”
After reading those first two sentences, are you intrigued? Do you want to know more about me? Do you wonder what a “growth engine” is, and how I help to build them?
If so – and I hope you do – you are getting a sense of how powerful a personal brand can be in marketing yourself – not necessarily as a tangible commodity, but an intangible resource that can be of value to you, the customer.
It has been my experience that the fine tuning of your personal brand can be as impactful and remunerative to yourself as a corporate brand is to a company. Get it right, and you will find yourself with a clearer sense of self, a well-defined road map for your role in the world, and in demand for the characteristics you embody.
I’ve also found that conjuring this personal brand needn’t take a ton of time, resources, and a cadre of advisors. In fact, the foundational principles of Chief Outsiders – a trio of Growth Gears that typically are used to help companies focus their futures – are equivalently applicable when it comes to personal focus.
Let’s take a closer look at these three Growth Gears, and how I apply them when conducting a personal brand-building exercise.
As you might imagine, this journey all starts with your place in the world – your why. Also referred to by Simon Sinek as “The Golden Circle,” the intent here is to understand what makes you tick – what’s your superpower. Also, in light of the lingering impact of a global pandemic, this is the phase where many of you will decide whether your why is different today than it was 18 months, or two years, ago. I know of situations where career-driven individuals have opted to seek a more flexible existence in order to put family first.
If you were a company, at this phase, you would conduct a Voice of the Customer survey – as an individual, you will leverage more self-focused tools, such as Strengthsfinder and a DISC profile. I also encourage you to survey your friends – asking them what your strong suits are – as a means of sharpening the picture. Ultimately, you want to come away with a sense of what energizes you, and what de-energizes you. Eventually, this data will inform takeaways like a Word Cloud, value proposition, and elevator pitch – necessary to start formulating strategies, in the next step. One helpful tool I use at this phase can be found here.
When conducting strategic fact finding for a company, you would look at things like what constitutes good client and a bad client; global and local trends that may be affecting your market and business; a customer matrix (to determine market segment), and more.
Translated into more personal terms, you are looking to take the information you gleaned in the first step, and to distill into an action plan that suits your desires, interests, and capabilities. A good place to start is to create strategies for these five “Fs”: Faith, Family, Fitness, Finance, and Fun.
To do this, you can employ any number of corporate tools for personal use, including:
You will likely have multiple data points and multiple outcomes after completing these exercises. I recommend that you create a dashboard to house all of this data. It doesn’t have to be anything particularly complex – I use a SaaS product called Trello to keep my data points organized. For advice on how to best enunciate your goals, check out this article by Jeff Haden.
With all of these great insights and strategies assembled, it’s time to consider your next bold forays. At this stage, you will want to understand things at a ground-level view – how many relationships do you wish to develop? How many referrals would you like to have for your services? Or, if your goals are more personal in nature, here’s where you want to understand: Do you want to do more reading? If so, how many books this year? Do you want to learn a foreign language? Personal growth goals are just as important to rounding out the focus.
As you execute, consider designating an accountability partner – someone (or a group of people) who you trust to be your feedback loop. Some good recommendations on this subject can be found here. In my case, I have actually created a small “board of directors” – four individuals who serve as a sounding board when I am planning big life decisions. I share both my insights and strategies with them and get solid advice on how I plan to undertake these changes.
I hope you consider using this approach to examine your “big picture” as well. One last bit of advice: Keep in mind, you’re not seeking to measure your net worth in dollars and cents – instead, you’re hoping to understand how you invest in yourself and in other people. By undertaking this process, you’ll truly have the foundation for understanding needed to fuel your purpose and drive your motivation.