Tag Archives: Personal Brand

Executive Presence: “Gravitas”, Communication…and Appearance?

Executive Presence is considered essential to achieve leadership roles and effectively perform in them.

Sylvia Ann Hewlett

Sylvia Ann Hewlett

Organizational advancement assumes measurable knowledge, skill, competence, coupled with less quantifiable “authenticity,” “cultural fit,” and “executive presence.”

To more clearly define these less tangible prerequisites of executive advancement, Sylvia Ann Hewlett, economist and CEO of Center for Talent Innovation, conducted 18 focus groups and 60 interviews to systematically investigate behavioral and attitudinal aspects of Executive Presence (EP).

Interviewees opined that Executive Presence accounts for more than a quarter of factors that determine a next promotion, and includes three distinct components:Executive Presence

Gravitas” – Authoritative Behavior

    • Confidence, composure,
    • Decisiveness,
    • Integrity,
    • Emotional Intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, interpersonal skills,
    • Clear personal “brand” reputation,
    • Vision for leadership

Communication

    • Strong speaking skills:  Voice tone, clear articulation, grammatical speech conveying competence, credibility,
    • Presence”, “bearing”,  “charisma” including assertiveness, humor, humility,
    • Ability to sense audience engagement, emotion, interests

Appearance

    • Attention to grooming, posture,
    • Physical attractiveness, normal weight,
    • Well-maintained, professional attire.

Harrison Monarth

Executive presence can be cultivated with Image Management, argued Harrison Monarth.

He advocated self-marketing tactics including:

– Creating and maintaining a compelling personal “brand” to influence others’ perceptions and willingness to collaborate,

– Managing online reputation, and recovering when communications go awry,

-Effectively persuading those who disagree, and gaining followers,

-Demonstrating “Emotional Intelligence” skills of self-awareness, awareness of others (empathic insight).

He focused less on appearance as a contributor to career advancement than Hewlett and Stanford Law School’s Deborah Rhode, who summarized extensive research on Halo Effect.
Rhode and Hewlett acknowledge the impact of appearance and non-verbal behavior on various life opportunities including career advancement.

Deborah Rhode

Rhode estimated that annual world-wide investment in appearance is close to $200 billion in 2010 USD currency, and she contended that bias based on appearance:

  • Is prevalent,
  • Infringes on individuals’ fundamental rights,
  • Compromises merit principles,
  • Reinforces negative stereotypes,
  • Compounds disadvantages facing members of non-dominant races, classes, and gender.

Executive Presence is widely recognized as a prerequisite for leadership roles, yet its components remained loosely-defined until Hewlett’s systematic investigation, Monarth’s consulting-based approach, and Rhode’s legal analysis.

-*Which elements seem most essential to Executive Presence?

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Women’s Branding – Impact of Rebranding at Marriage, Divorce

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde

Playwright, esthete, and bon vivant Oscar Wilde anticipated current attention to personal branding in his comment, “Names are everything.”

It is well-known that women who change their names at marriage are more difficult to find and connect to their pre-marriage professional accomplishments.
This is a “Brand Equity Risk,” and may result in reduced “personal brand value.

However, “rebranding” at marriage was prevalent among about 19,000 women who married in 2012, surveyed by TheKnot.com and www.WeddingChannel.com.
A significant majority – 86 percent – changed their birth names to their husband’s surname, with just 14% choosing another option such as:

  • Retaining their original name (<8%),
  • Hyphenating both partners’ last names (6%),
  • Creating a new surname, often from parts of each partner’s name.
Brian Powell

Brian Powell

Just three years before, Indiana University’s  Brian Powell and Laura Hamilton of University of California – Merced, found that that significantly fewer respondents – 71 percent of 815 survey participants – believed a woman should change her name at marriage, and half of those said it should be legally required.

Laura Hamilton

Laura Hamilton

This suggests that there is an increasing sentiment toward rebranding at marriage.

Richard Kopelman

Richard Kopelman

However, Baruch College’s Richard Kopelman, with  Rita Shea-Van Fossen of Ramapo College, Eletherios Paraskevas, Sacred Heart University’s Leanna Lawter, and David Prottas of Adelphi University, reported significantly decreasing incidence of women changing birth names at marriage from the 1990s to the 2000s. 

Claudia Goldin

Claudia Goldin

Likewise, Harvard’s  Claudia Goldin and Maria Shim, found a similar trend in their evaluation of  New York Times‘ marriage announcements, Massachusetts birth records, and Harvard alumni records: Fewer college-educated women kept their birth names in 2004 than in the 1970s and 1980s.

Maria Shim

Maria Shim

They noted that older brides and those who graduated from elite educational institutions were more likely to retain their original names, as were  those with occupations in arts, writing, and media.

Rita Shea-Van Fossen

Rita Shea-Van Fossen

Wayne State University’s Ernest Abel and Michael Kruger echoed Goldin and Shim’s finding that older brides are more likely to retain their original “brand.”

Ernest Abel

Ernest Abel

Women who married between ages 35 and 39 were six times more likely to keep their original names than women who married when they were 20 to 24 years old, reported Abel and Kruger in their analysis of 2575 wedding announcements in the New York Times.
They found that women who married in 2007–2008 were three times more likely to retain their birth names than those married in 1990–1991.

Stephanie Coontz

Stephanie Coontz

Diana Boxer

Diana Boxer

Stephanie Coontz of Evergreen College said that many of the women who changed their names in the 1970s did so as a counterpoint to marital inequality in obtaining credit, renting an apartment, and owning real property.
Other cross-cultural gender-specific identity practices were outlined by University of Florida’s Diana Boxer and Elena Gritsenko’s Women and surnames across cultures: reconstituting identity in marriage.

Education, age, religious affiliation, cultural traditions, and sentiment seem to over-ride typical advice for building a brand:  Repeated exposure to a consistent message over time.
Brand strategists who consider threats to corporate brand value could contribute to post-marriage rebranding decision-making by quantifying the potential long-term financial impact of women’s  nominal changes after marriage and marital dissolution.

-*What are the benefits to personal brand value of keeping or changing original names?

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“Self-Packaging” as Personal Brand: Implicit Requirements for Personal Appearance?

Napoleon Hill

Napoleon Hill

Al Ries

Al Ries

During the Depression of the 1930s in the US, motivational writer Napoleon Hill laid the foundation for “personal positioning,” described nearly forty-five years later by marketing executives Al Ries and Jack Trout in Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind.

Jack Trout

Jack Trout

Tom Peters

Tom Peters

By 1997, business writer Tom Peters introduced “personal branding” as self-packaging that communicates an individual’s accomplishments and characteristics, including appearance, as a “brand promise of value.”
He also enumerated “what branding is not.”

Murray Newlands

Murray Newlands

Blogger Murray Newlands opines that personal branding refers to all facets of personal presentation.
He notes that “self-packaging is the shell of who you are” and differentiates it from “self-presentation …that essence of what sets you apart from the crowd.

The goal of personal branding, then, is to communicate the intrinsic, most important, differentiating personal characteristics, exemplified in self-packaging details like attire, business cards, speaking style and more.

Daniel Lair

Daniel Lair

Communications researchers Daniel Lair, now of University of Michigan at Flint along with University of Utah’s Katie Sullivan and George Cheney, now of Kent State University, cast an academic lens on personal branding in their analysis, Marketization and the Recasting of the Professional Self: The Rhetoric and Ethics of Personal Branding.

George Cheney

George Cheney

They refer to the practice as “…a startlingly overt invitation to self-commodification” worthy of “careful and searching analysis… as (perhaps) an extreme form of a market-appropriate response.

Lair, Sullivan, and Cheney examine the complex rhetoric tactics used in personal branding, and how these shape power relations by gender, age, race, and class.

Sylvia Ann Hewlett

Sylvia Ann Hewlett

Sylvia Ann Hewlett and researchers at Center for Talent Innovation echo some of these social concerns with potential biasing effects of personal branding.

Hewlett and team consider the special case of personal appearance as an element of “personal packaging”.
They note the challenges facing women and members of minority groups in meeting unspoken, implicit requirements for executive presence embodied in personal appearance.

-*What elements do you consider in “personal packaging” and the specific case of personal appearance?

-*How do you mitigate possible bias based on expectations for personal appearance?

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Women’s Career Development Model – Individual Action in Negotiation, Networking-Mentoring-Sponsorship, Skillful Self-Promotion – Part 2 of 2

Kenexa Career Development Model-Individual Behaviors

Kenexa Career Development Model-Individual Behaviors

Part 1 of this post, Women’s Career Development Model – Individual Action in Career Planning and the Contest and Sponsorship Pathways to Advancement – Part 1 of 2,  highlighted Ines Wichart’s model of women’s career development with three levels and 11 components, based on her research as Kenexa High Performance Institute (KHPI), a subsidiary of IBM.

Ines Wichert

Ines Wichert

She outlined four behaviors that individuals can control or influence toward career advancement:

  • Career planning 
  • Opportunity-seeking, Negotiation
  • Career-building networking; Mentoring-Sponsorship    
  • Skillful self-promotion

The first segment of this two-part post considered facets of Career Planning and two independent paths to career advancement: Contest and Sponsorship routes.

Let’s consider the additional elements that respond to individual attention and efforts, including Opportunity-seeking while embracing risk.  

Susan Vinnicombe

Susan Vinnicombe

Val Singh

Val Singh

Highly effective career advancement opportunities include stretch assignments and on-the-job training.

Susan Vinnicombe and Val Singh of Cranfield University report that these development activities are most effective in building credibility, visibility, reputation as a capable, well-rounded leader.

However, their research found that women need more encouragement to take on challenging assignments than men, who are more likely to ask for these assignments.

Linda Babcock

Linda Babcock

Similarly, Linda Babcock reported that women tend to need encouragement to ask for promotions and salary increases.

Her research demonstrated that women are less likely to negotiate for their first salaries, unless they know that these are acceptable practices.

Manhattan CollegeAs a countermeasure, Babcock recommends negotiation practices demonstrated to mitigate negative perceptions by both men and women negotiation partners

Like Babcock, Mary Wade’s research at Manhattan College found that both men and women evaluated more negatively women who negotiated for salary using the same script as men.

Corinne Moss-Racusin

Corinne Moss-Racusin

Laurie Rudman

Laurie Rudman

Corinne Moss-Racusin and Laurie Rudman replicated this disconcerting finding at Rutgers University, leading to their formulation of “The Backlash Avoidance Model” (BAM)”.

According to this construct, women may demonstrate traditional gender role behaviors to mitigate “backlash” of negative reaction by men and women to “role discrepant” behaviors like asking for career advancement and commensurate compensation.

  • What approaches have been effective when you have asked for a salary increase or promotion?
         –How did you prepare?

         -How did you overcome objections?
  • When people ask you for a salary increase or promotion, what negotiation approaches have been most effective?
              -What have been least effective?

Wichart’s model of individual initiatives toward career advancement points to the importance of skillful professional networking, mentoring, and sponsorship.

National Center for Women and Information TechnologyNational Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) reported that nearly half of technical women surveyed said they lack role models and mentors, and 84% said they lack sponsors.
The result is that these women are four times more likely to leave the current job role.

One reason that women’s professional networking efforts and seeking mentors may yield less effective career advancement than men:  Women tend to engage in professional networking for affiliation and emotional support with people close to their job level whereas men tend to network for career development with people significantly above the job level, according to Adelina Broadbridge of University of Stirling.University of Stirling

As a result of these differing approaches to professional networking, men may enjoy more rapid career advancement due to visibility and sponsorship.

Pamela Perrewe

Pamela Perrewe

F. Randy Blass

F. Randy Blass

In addition, women are likely to demonstrate less political understanding and insight because mentors are not sufficiently senior, according to Florida State University’s F. Randy Blass, Pamela Perrewe, and Gerald Ferris with Robyn Brouer of SUNY Buffalo.

Gerald Ferris

Gerald Ferris

Robyn Brouer

Robyn Brouer

Organizational support for formal and informal mentoring has been shown to increase employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention.

Therefore, organizations concerned with retaining talented women and minorities can increase the likelihood of keeping skilled employees by initiating structured mentoring programs and encouraging selective sponsorship.

  •  How have mentors and sponsors enabled your career moves?
  •  How do you decide who you are willing to mentor or sponsor?   

Previous posts have shared much current research and leading recommendations in building personal brand and practicing skillful self-promotion:

In light of the potential negative perceptions of women who showcase their accomplishments as they ask for salary increases and role advancement:

  •   How do you raise awareness of your accomplishments’ impact to avoid “backlash”?
  •   How do you define, develop, and communicate, “skillfully promote” your personal brand?

These research findings suggest three parting suggestions for women who want to Play Bigger:

  1. Question the thought that “I’m not ready yet.”
  2. Develop resilience and “a thick skin”:   If you are doing something innovative or important, you may draw both praise and criticism when you are noticed.
  3. Filter advice:  Implement recommendations that have “the ring of truth” and “resonate”;
    leave the rest.
  • What is the most helpful career advice you implemented?
  • What career advice have you decided not to implement?

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Memorable Business Stories: Ideas and Numbers

Chip Heath-Dan Heath

Chip Heath-Dan Heath

Chip Heath of Stanford and Dan Heath, Senior Fellow at Duke University’s CASE center, distill principles that make messages memorable in  Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

Citing urban legends and advertisements as examples of tenaciously “sticky” messages, they argue that unforgettable ideas can be recalled with an acronym that means “success” in French:   Made to Stick

  • Simplicity
  • Unexpectedness
  • Concreteness, with many details to act as “hooks” to “stick” to  memory’s many “loops” (Velcro theory of memory)
  • Credibility
  • Emotion-laden stories.
Robert Cialdini

Robert Cialdini

The Heaths’ principle of credibility draws on the three elements of persuasive messages outlined by Robert Cialdini in his best-selling Influence: The Psychology of PersuasionInfluence

Credibility is enhanced by liking, authority, and social proof in Cialdini’s model:

  • Liking – Appealing public figures or personal friends endorses
  • Authority – Well-respected role model or respected authority provides testimonial
  • Social proof – Others like me endorse it, and others provide justification: “because…”, though the actual reason is immaterial
  • Reciprocity – “I know you’d do the same for me,” recommended by Guy Kawasaki to convey that “You owe me…”
  • Scarcity – “While supplies last…”, “Limited time offer!”, “Act now, don’t wait!”
  • Commitment, consistency – Draws on people’s desire to appear consistent, and even trustworthy by following through on commitments: “I do what I say I will do…”
  • Contrast principle – Sales people sell the most expensive item first so related items seem inexpensive by comparison: Real estate transaction fees may appear minimal in contrast to a large investment in a house.

Both memorable messages and persuasive messages take advantage of habitual reactions to typical situations.

These automated and sometimes unconscious processes are a heuristic to help people to deal rapidly and efficiently with routine activities and tasks.
However, “auto-pilot” reactions  may lead to being persuaded to act in ways that might not be helpful, such as excessive eating, drinking, spending, or engaging in risky activities.

Jonah Berger

Jonah Berger

ContagiousWharton’s Jonah Berger formulated an acronyn, STEPPS, to describe narrative elements that increase the likelihood that a story, idea, or product will spread like a contagious virus: 

  • Social Currency – Passing along the information makes the sender appear “good” – knowledgeable, helpful or other   
  • Triggers – The message evokes a familiar, frequent situation
  • Emotion – The story evokes emotion, so will strengthen the emotional between the sender and receiver   
  • Public – Similar to Social Currency, passing the message reflects favorably on the sender
  • Practical Value – The sender provides actionable value in sharing the message
  • Stories –  Memorable, surprising elements increase the likelihood that others will convey the message
Randall Bolten

Randall Bolten

Finance executive Randall Bolten draws on similar observations about human cognitive and perceptual processing to recommend ways to tell a memorable and motivating quantitative story.

His Painting with Numbers: Presenting Financials and Other Numbers So People Will Understand You, discusses “quantation” as another type of business storytelling that affects  “personal brand image.”Painting with Numbers

Edward Tufte

Edward Tufte

Even more practical than Edward Tufte’s breathtaking examples of effective “information architecture” in The Visual Display of Quantitative Information and Envisioning Information, Bolten provides coaching on designing memorable, persuasive presentations and “pitches” featuring quantitative information as “proof points.”

His book demonstrates the Heaths’ principles of simplicity, concreteness, and credibility while drawing on Cialdini’s proven approaches of authority, commitment, consistency, and contrast. The Visual Display of Quantitative InformationEnvisioning Information

-*What principles do you use to tell stories that motivate others to act as you hope?

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Questions to Answer in Personal Brand, “Elevator Pitch”, Resume

Colleen Aylward

Colleen Aylward

Colleen Aylward asserts that the following questions must be answered in your resume, “elevator pitch”, information interview, and online presence in her book, From Bedlam to Boardroom: How to get a derailed executive career back on track!

  • What is your [narrow, deep] expertise?
  • What are your strengths?

Career Leader by Harvard Business School professor Timothy Butler

  • What is your unique business differentiator?
  • What problems have you solved? How?
    [Note accomplishments and quantified impact, not responsibilities;
    Specify numbers, even if <10 – contrary to style rules]
  • How have you increased revenues, profit?
  • How have you improved processes?
  • How have you demonstrated creativity, innovation?
  • How have you reduced costs?

The last four items, indicated by *, are considered critical Key Performance Indicators that you must convey clearly, repeatedly, and memorably in all in-person and online activities.

-*What assessments and tools have you used to uncover your strengths, expertise and key differentiator?

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