Reinventing You provides a step-by-step guide to help you assess your unique strengths, develop a compelling personal brand and ensure that others recognize the powerful contribution you can make. Branding expert Dorie Clark mixes personal stories with engaging interviews and examples from Mark Zuckerberg, Al Gore, Tim Ferriss, Seth Godin and others to show you how to think big about your professional goals, take control of your career and finally live the life you want.
Small, tangible signals are only part of the battle, however, the biggest challenge is changing your behavior to reflect your new goals and reality. For over a decade, Dan had worked at a large, international technology company, ascending to the rank of engineering director. But when he decided to leave for a newer tech company with a hip reputation, he realized his résumé had some baggage attached. His previous employer was well-known and respected by the public, but in tech circles, it was viewed as an old-line behemoth, resistant to change and full of stuffy bureaucrats, not exactly the image he wanted to project to his new colleagues. “I had to work to get other people to understand I was comfortable in the new environment,” he says. “It’s a grassroots culture, so I had to start building relationships and trust. It was lots of time ‘managing by walking around,’ being as visible as possible. With anything that smacked of a big company, like having a standing staff meeting, I overreacted against it.”
Dan realized he had to make connections quickly to shape his colleagues’ perception of him, but he was starting at a disadvantage. “I discovered my entire personal network was at [my previous employer],” he recalls. “I decided I shouldn’t be in that situation again.” So he embarked on a networking campaign to deepen his connections both inside and outside his new company, and in the process, build a reputation as a forward-thinking, connected executive who understood industry trends. But there was only one problem: his personality.“I’m a fairly introverted guy,”Dan says.“I hate taking these meetings with strangers, the idea of a meeting that’s not going to help me get the job I have in front of me done, or getting to know people without an action item.”
But he forced himself to persist. “I realized it was important, that by the time you need connections, you can’t suddenly make them. You have to be ready.” These days, while his night-owl engineering team is sleeping in, Dan has a steady regimen of breakfast meetings including “people in my industry at other companies, executive search people, leaders at small companies, venture capitalists, a guy who works on corporate turnarounds.” When it comes to making connections, Dan says, “the biggest change is my default answer used to be no, and now my default answer is yes. I’ve focused on reasons to say yes.”
His networking has paid off. He’s now on the pulse of start-ups to acquire and knows which ones are going down (and from which he can poach talent). He’s made himself indispensable to his company and the furthest thing from an old school, bureaucratic manager. In fact, he’s found ways to play with his background and upend expectations. When he discovered his new company required receipts for all travel expenses above $25, whereas his old firm’s threshold was $75, he shook up his colleagues by letting them know it was less bureaucratic at his old company and suggested they change the policy. He recalls with pleasure: “I could use negative branding to my advantage.” And he knows that if he wants to change jobs in the future, he’s positioned himself with the contacts and branding he needs to land securely.
Find this book: Reinventing You