This is a continuation of the previous interview with a Spanish interviewer.
Q. I have the luck of being able to live doing what I like and according to my values. This should be the norm but in this hectic world, as you point out in your book, it is not. Do you think recession has changed anything in our priorities and if so, do you think the change will be permanent?
A. I think that the recession has had some impact on how people evaluate how well their values are aligned with their employer or future employer. People feel less secure about their employment status so their connection with their employer is weaker. In that case individuals are more likely to look for a new employer when the economy improves. In the U.S. studies indicate that about 50% of individuals say they will look for a new employer when the economy improves. I believe they will be looking at employers who share similar values as themselves.
Generational attitudes are playing a much bigger role in individuals comparing their values to their employer’s values. People in the so-called Gen-Y demographic are clear about their relationship with their employer. An important question being asked by these individuals is “How does my job or relationship with my employer fit into my lifestyle and values?” I know this attitude is standard in the U.S. and is most likely flowing to other parts of the globe. The one clear implication of the changing attitudes of employees is the growing mandate for employers to pay attention to employee engagement and seriously consider implementing organizational development processes that will increase the level of active employee engagement.
Q. I have some doubts that alignment with values is the only and best way of getting people live the brand in an organisation. Alignment looks for uniformity and absence of dissonance. Isn’t this a bit contradictory with the personal branding philosophy in which you try to get more of what you are, no less?
A. Alignment is not the same as uniformity; it’s about congruence or compatibility. The Brand Tool Box® Personal Brand Model is a tool for individuals to discover their authentic personal brand. Our model of internal brand building is based upon a concept called the Power of Brand Alignment. This model is based upon alignment not compliance. The Power of Brand Alignment model is built upon a foundation of employees understanding their authentic personal brand well enough to examine where their values, attitudes and competencies align with their employer’s business brand. This is an opt-in model providing the employee with the opportunity to make a conscious decision about how much alignment they have with their employer.
When employees are able to identify areas of alignment and find ways to leverage the connection with their employer, their level of engagement becomes evident. Each employee will be able to contribute based upon his or her distinctive talents and engagement. Aligned personal brands bring a level of diversity that is valued and encouraged by innovative, high performing organizations.
Highly engaged employees are the drivers of high performing organizations. Disengaged employees are a drag on an organization’s performance. The largest segment of employees are uncommitted or employees unaware of their level of engagement. Employers focus on inspiring highly engaged employees to be more of who they are. Uncommitted employees are encouraged by employers to discover their level of alignment and then be more of who they are. Disengaged employees are urged to comply by adhering to uniformity and dissonance is discouraged because it is unproductive and distracts aligned, engaged employees.
Q. Sandford Meisner, probably the best ever actors’ trainer, teaches how one of the essential of good acting is to truly connect with your partner. And I think this is very applicable to a personal brand building. I totally agree with the conclusion of your book when you say that what really enriches our life are relationships: people you connect with, people you like, people you love, people you trust. How do your tools help to better connect with others?
A. Our tools of personal brand are based upon authenticity and alignment. Our Brand Tool Box® Personal Brand tools help individuals build and nourish relationships in three different ways. The first tool is a framework of defining an individual’s authentic personal brand. We help people make a clear connection between their most important values and the way they interact with others. That framework is called a Personal Brand Platform. The next tool we have is called a Personal Brand Assessment. This is a tool individuals use to assess how others perceive them, providing them real information to determine their personal brand strengths and weaknesses. Finally we have tools to help people find productive ways to create alignment between their authentic self and the needs of others. A stronger connection will enable an individual to make an authentic difference for another person. In addition when an individual consistently lives their authentic personal brand they will develop trusting relationships. Strong, trusting relationships are a very important asset of successful professionals and create ultimate fulfillment in life.
Posted by Karl D. Speak