We need to be careful with our use of the words “me” and “I” when we are a part of a team. “We” are more successful together than I am alone. You know the sayings, “there is no ‘I’ in team,” “Two heads are better than one,” “none of us are as smart as all of us.” This is all true.
However, there is a common denominator in every successful business: YOU. Before we can move forward with purpose successfully as a team, you need to realize the value you bring to the table. And this is even more relevant to women, who have a harder time taking credit for (and owning) their successes and sitting at the table.
How often do we have the conversation shown in this cartoon? How often do we all introduce ourselves in the same sequence? In presenting ourselves in this way, we are allowing our job title and our company define who we are. In other situations, our introduction might change. At a soccer tournament, you might say, “Hi, I’m Jordan’s mom” and at a family gathering you might be Dave’s sister – and that is great! Our job, current position, and certainly our family make up a large part of who we are. But what happens when we dig deeper and we look past what we have and what we do?
What if, instead we look at our authentic selves and our personal BRANDS? We examine who we are as individuals, what our values are, and how those attributes (like mom, teammate, wife, entrepreneur) define us? And finally, how does that apply (and it does!) to our professional personas?
This was the focus of conversation at the IWL ‘Brand You’ Women’s Leadership Conference this year. Some of Indianapolis’ most influential business leaders shared their own stories and led 12 separate breakout sessions relating to the Brand You theme.
A few highlights…
Susan Mosey (DEFENDER Direct) applied the brand concept to servant leadership. “When you serve someone, they give you permission to lead them.”
Starla West (Starla West International) challenged us all to consider our image as a critical component of our brand presence. After all, our brand is the perception that others have of us; it would be naive to think that physical appearance, behavior, and outward communication do not effect how others perceive you. September Fox, a participant in the Brand You Transformation with Starla West and the Evan Todd Salon summed it up when she said, “when people hear my name, I want them to expect something.”
Tom Adkins (Roche Diagnostics) advised participants in his closing remarks to be intentional, authentic, and deliver value.
We learned how to navigate conflict, lead as a coach, and ultimately couple these lessons with our personal brands. In building our brand, we start by asking others what they think our brand is. What does my neighbor think of me? Then we look at the feedback from others and we apply our own self-evaluation. What specific abilities do I have that are unique to only me? This is what Ellyn Ludden (Team Summit) calls our “zone of genius.” Finally, we make a commitment to our abilities and ourselves and we surround ourselves with people who will support that – what Marietta Stalcup (Lead deNovo) might call our “personal board of directors.”
Ultimately, You are the CEO of YOU. You are the key to your own personal happiness and (listen up C-Suite), you are the key to your company’s success.
Contributed by: Maggie Anderson, Director of Marketing