In this article we continue your conversation with the great within. You must never doubt that which God deposited in you. Never hold back to shine because you were created to shine. Personal brand is not what anybody can build. It is who you are, your values and what you stand for – you don’t find this in a book or university – it’s tucked away in your great within (soul). They have told you the world is waiting for the next Nelson Mandela or Steve Jobs. I say NO. The world is waiting for the next YOU!
Why the fuss about personal branding? Whether you are conscious or not – you have a personal brand. It is an intangible asset which you can leverage or activate to influence your world. Your reputation in your job or as an organisation is linked to your personal brand. Think of individuals who have stood out in this world over the last 10 years. Dr Strive Masiyiwa the Econet founder’s personal brand can best be described as a hardnosed businessman whose simple desire was to put a phone in the hand of every African. His buccaneering exploits saw him venturing into the Nigerian telecom jungle, overcome regulatory hurdles, start up wilderness challenges and cross funding Red Seas to build a truly global telecom business with African roots. Dr Masiyiwa is a man of ideas, values, focus, substance and a game changer – when he established Econet Wireless Nigeria in 2001, there was barely 1 million telephone users in Nigeria – today there are over 110 million users in just over 10 years. This is remarkable!
Jack Welch who is one of the best corporate executives of this century managed General Electric (GE) and grew revenues from 27 USD billion to 130 USD billion when he left. Welch had an idea to position GE as #1 or #2 in every industry they operated or close shop if not achievable. This was bold. He had a reputation of being ruthlessly decisive accompanied by unabashed candour. From the example of Dr Masiyiwa and Jack Welch I would like to share some practical things which you need in order to activate your personal brand.
The foundation of your personal brand is an idea. Dr Masiyiwa had an idea to wire Africa. Jack Welch had an idea to create an efficient and profitable American corporate. Ideas are the DNA of your personal brand. Ideas are the product of your thoughts, meditations and dreams. Organisations or products are an expression of ideas. To stand out, you need to have ideas that are too good to ignore. The late Apple founder Steve Jobs had an idea to build products which are aesthetically outstanding yet functionally excellent. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had an idea to make the world one big community in which personal information was shared digitally. His idea was very simple – transparency.
What is the idea God has deposited in your great within. Don’t hold back. It doesn’t have to make sense to anybody – Jack Welch was nicknamed “Neutron Jack” (after the neutron bomb) because he eliminated employees while leaving buildings intact. Many people thought Facebook would never grow because it infringed on the right to privacy, but the irony is that it is thriving on the need to eliminate privacy. Weird! Ideas do not flourish under the noisy approval of others but the quiet assurance of knowing you can change the world. I want to challenge you this week – in your organisation, job, community or church – be bold to share your ideas. Ideas are the fruit of your spirit and meditations. They are the fruit of thought. Your life will take the shape of your thoughts – start thinking NOW!
In the next article I will unpack the other elements of activating your personal brand. Don’t miss it!