What is the Professional Brand Equity of a Manager?

A short excerpt from Managing with Aloha if I may, for I think it introduces today’s posting quite well. Today I offer a follow-up to what I posted here two days ago. Let’s drill deeper into this concept of personal branding for Alaka‘i managers and leaders.

What should managers be?

At some time or another, every child is asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I’ve never heard one answer, “I’d like to be a manager.” I didn’t.

Yet I now believe heart and soul that it is a calling to be a great manager. Unfortunately, greatness is rarely achieved, and thus examples are rarely talked about. Children don’t hear inspiring stories of managers often enough to want to be one.

Even in Hawai‘i, where the fanciful romantic concepts of the Aloha spirit are marketed and draped like charm bracelets around the hospitality industry, managers are thought of as babysitters. They are not really considered the ambassadors of the Aloha spirit, although that spirit is what they seek to peddle, and their profession is not thought of as particularly noble.

Why is this?

—From the Introduction to Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawai‘i’s Universal Values to the Art of Business

I wrote that back in 2003, and though I’d like to think we’ve made a dent in the effort to answer the question it poses with the Managing with Aloha movement, I feel we still have a long way to go. Perhaps this concept of a personal brand for managers and leaders can help us make more progress.

Imagine different. Imagine confidently stated worth.

Imagine Brand Equity. Imagine it for a professional Art of Aloha manager and Alaka‘i leader.

Remember this question from a past Sunday Koa Kākou here?

I was laid off recently, and while it was upsetting, I can’t say I was surprised, for it was obvious that the company couldn’t afford to keep me and the others who were let go (all of us managers). I’ve been looking for another job for about three months now and it’s been tough: I’ve just found an hourly position that will help me get most of my bills paid, but I want to get back into management and I’m going to keep looking. Any advice? The rejection has been grueling.

At the time we talked about something slightly different [Job-hunting? Don’t apply and fill, create and pitch]. We talked about fulfilling an employer’s biggest need. After my last article here however, I hope you are now thinking about fulfilling your biggest need too, that of banking your personal brand equity: Seven Ways to Assess Your Personal Brand Assets Beyond A Job.

Isn’t ‘personal equity’ a fabulously compelling concept? So, imagine different.

Imagine going to a job interview as a candidate wanting a managerial or leadership position (in the conventional way most people see them —as positions versus the Alaka‘i roles of a calling to manage, and a calling to lead): That part is realistic about what simply is ‘still the way it is’ right now. However, imagine what could be different —and completely under your control.

Imagine handing the hiring interviewer a business card you’ve printed with your name, and “______ Manager and Leader” directly under it, with that blank filled in with the best-articulated word or phrase which describes your personal brand in each of those Alaka‘i roles.

Wow. Imagine that the hiring interviewer flips your card over, and will next see a listing of the personal values and professional strengths which itemize your ‘Core Qualifications,’ further fortifying that critical first impression of the brand message you are there to convey in the interview which will follow. Double, triple wow!

I’d hire you on the spot, and figure out where to best place you later, and I haven’t even ventured a guess yet as to what brand naming filled in that blank space.

Professional Brand Equity has Personal Value Credibility

Sorry, I am not going to give you a list of clever market-ready words and phrases to choose from in filling in that blank. I don’t have to IF you did that 7-question personal brand asset assessment exercise I gave you two days ago; you know exactly what to fill in, or at the very least, you are well on your way to discovering it.

I’ll help you a little bit, by telling you what would be on my calling card as an example. Mine would say “Ho‘ohana Manager and Alaka‘i Leader” for I believe that is

  1. What I do,
  2. What I deliver as a product and service, and
  3. What I coach others to do if they desire to.

Why? I believe that teaching others to manage with Ho‘ohana (as the deliverable of Managing with Aloha-branded work) and to lead with Alaka‘i (with the objective of visionary value-alignment to sense of place) is what I do best: It ‘employs’ my personal values, it capitalizes on my strengths, and it turns my mana‘o [my core beliefs and convictions] into something worth building a personal legacy on. In business-speak, it can finance my life via a legacy I can market for sale into a true win-win for me and for my prospective customers. Knowing what my personal brand equity is, I can now convert it into a business model (as I have done) which can potentially keep financing my ‘Ohana long after I am gone (if my model remains generation-relevant in the future).

I don’t call it ‘my personal brand equity’ out loud, but I do speak about it all the time; can’t help myself; that is what I sound like, and what I talk story about. I don’t draw ‘my personal brand equity’ on flipcharts and whiteboards, but in my head I visualize more which is related to it all the time; can’t help myself; that is what I consistently see, and imagine in the future, just like I did in the beginning of this post.

So as you can tell, if I gave you a list of clever market-ready words and phrases to choose from in billing in that calling-card blank, it would likely end up being about me, and not about you. I gave you that 7-question exercise last time so you would first focus on YOUR values, YOUR strengths, and YOUR assets.

Trust in who you are, and celebrate it. Give in to it. Whether for yourself or for an employer, find work which aligns with your personal brand assets, and allow your now-fulfilled values to put your behavior on the good auto-pilot that others feel they can count on —isn’t that what credibility is all about?

So tell me, what would your calling card (not business card) say?

More reading from the Say “Alaka‘i” archives on:

~ Originally published on Say “Alaka‘i” ~
What is the Professional Brand Equity of a Manager?