A strong executive profile is a game changer
You might have wondered why some executives - sometimes even your colleagues or others in your industry - seem to come from nowhere to significant prominence. They are regularly called upon for their opinion and expertise, and their improved visibility and reputation leads to promotions and lucrative roles. They are generally not a ‘special case’, but rather have committed to methodically building their profile. There are many ways to go about developing your profile. A simple formula is creating a personal brand and then building your presence by telling a consistent, relevant story that is easily discovered.
Step 1 - Define your personal ‘brand’
Your personal brand articulates what you stand for. Your value, your unique qualities and the experiences you’ve had, what drives you and what is unique about what you offer others. Determine your top strengths, key experiences, major professional themes and areas where you’ve succeeded to determine what to capitalise on. What are your major business achievements? What makes you unique? What is different about your leadership style? What can you do that other C-Suite leaders may not?
Step 2 - Craft your story via an executive narrative
Your executive narrative is a succinct, stand-alone version of your professional story that forms your professional value proposition. It defines not just what you do but why it matters. Often drafted in the form of an executive bio, the executive narrative turns your story and focus areas into something moving, meaningful and memorable. It’s important to consider who your audience is and answer the “so what” and “why” to ensure your story resonates.
Step 3 - Develop ‘thought leadership’ themes
As you cultivate your personal brand and story, you’ll benefit from positioning yourself as a thought leader. Thought leadership enables you to build credibility and a following, distinguish yourself from others and demonstrate your calibre. It often comes from expertise in a particular niche, a clearly identified point of view and genuine insights garnered from your experience. Using the information gleaned in Step 1, capture the major strategic themes and topics you can leverage from your professional and personal successes and experiences and distill them down to a few core focus areas. These can be built out into compelling insights and content.
Step 4 - Create a presence
Steps 4 and 5 put the prior three steps into action. While your story should match across all platforms, focus on the platforms you know your target audience is most likely to use. A strong executive presence will help tell a consistent, relevant story that is easily discovered. Multiple online and offline platforms can be utilised to enable direct connection with internal and external stakeholders. Executives should strive to control the first page of their personal search results. See the next page for guidance on how to build your presence.
Step 5 - Build strong relationships and engage
As reputation is the sum of stakeholder perceptions, smart executives recognise the need to build strong relationships and to stay in tune with the perceptions and attitudes of those who shape and influence their successes or failures. You need to get out there and share your views on topics of interest and via the channels most likely to influence your stakeholders. Once your profile is developed, your story nailed and thought leadership themes well considered, it needs to be translated into an action plan, including communications activities. Engagement is a highly effective reputation builder, and activities need to be strategically planned and thoughtfully managed to fully leverage the upsides.
Interested to learn more?
Executives typically benefit from enlisting others to help them build a narrative. This is because it can be challenging to draft content focused on ourselves without an external perspective and because it’s a skill in and of itself. We’d like to assist you build your narrative. Please reach out to get started.