Category : 2018
The end of year brings with it two extremes – times of reflection as we enjoy Christmas carols,
mistletoe, lights, and one more glass of eggnog. This season also brings tremendous velocity with end-of-year deadlines, lists of things to do, and invitations from people we don’t know to events we don’t think we can miss.
The final days of a year are also when career trajectories get a more thorough review. This reflection often prompts a desire for change-a new role, a compensation increase, a promotion, a move to a different employer.
Savvy professionals leverage these moments of reflection to assess their brand velocity. The word velocity comes from velox, the Latin word for swift, and implies movement in one direction. The elements of velocity are also the blocks of a solid end-of the-year brand strategy-a destination, a path, speed, and lift
Unfortunately, some professionals approach their careers like “Alice” in Lewis Carroll’s famous story. Meeting the Cheshire Cat, Alice asks, “Would you please tell me which way I ought to go from here?” The Cat replies, “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.” Alice responds that she doesn’t much care where she goes, to which the cat responds, “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
With brand clarity an executive doesn’t waste time considering career options that only offer more cash and a bigger title. An executive with a clear picture of how he/she contributes value and impacts results can more readily move past an opportunity that is interesting to one that is engaging.
Even a clear destination, needs an intentional path to get there. Over the next several weeks gyms fill with people convinced they need to “get into shape.” By mid-March attendance returns to normal because well-intended excitement about health lacked a plan and the fortitude to sustain the effort, severely limiting the outcome.
Brands emerge as a positive outcome of consistent, intentional, and sustained action built around an executive’s strengths and unique differentiators. You can’t expect to achieve the goal of a desirable first quarter or midyear career shift without designing and implementing a brand strategy–now. Brands and careers develop in tandem as you build your reputation for results, refine your marketing message, and clearly communicate your impact on what matters to CEOs and Boards.
“We’re lost, but we’re making good time,” makes for an amusing Yogi Berra quote-and a very poor brand strategy. In a competitive market, tempo is critical, and it is effective when aimed at a clear destination using a defined path. The origin of our word “speed” means to succeed or prosper. No one moves ahead unless they move forward. Speed creates the energy that is required for the last component of velocity.
Something flowing over the surface of a body generally exerts an upward force that overcomes the force of gravity and creates lift. Dynamic lift (as in aerodynamic or hydrodynamic) requires movement to occur. A clear destination, a reliable path, and the appropriate amount of speed combine to create the lift required to propel a brand and career to new heights. Any executive looking hard enough will find a plethora of negative reasons for not embracing the risk inherent in any change. Career lift overcomes those resisting forces, allowing a leader to move to brand-expanding options.
A healthy combination of reflection and activity can create the velocity needed to move your career to a new place. Make the most of the holidays by defining and implementing your brand strategy and initiating the actions that will give you reasons to reflect with gratitude at this time next year.