I had a coaching client – let’s call him Marvin – who was overlooked for a promotion for a second time and was considering leaving his company. After dissecting a number of potential reasons, one thing stood out. While Marvin never missed deadlines, produced a solid work product, and was viewed as competent by his external customers, the WAY he completed his work left a lot of room for improvement.
Marvin took several days to respond to colleagues’ emails, was regularly 5 minutes late for internal meetings, and often waited until the 11th hour to request data, which meant his co-workers had to scramble to get him what he needed. A friendly guy, Marvin got away with this behavior because he got the job done, but it became an obstacle once he wanted a leadership role.
Whether or not you realize, you’re always leaving traces of your brand behind in every interaction. It’s not just the end result that counts. Humans love to judge and categorize – it helps us organize the vast amount of data that bombard us daily. So, even if you’re not consciously paying attention to your brand, you’re still continuously leaving “brand traces” behind (like particles of DNA) during every conversation, online post, or subtle eye roll. And, you can bet others are noticing your behavior, processing the information, and coming to a conclusion.
Marvin challenged me, arguing he was always “on” when it counted. The problem was, that he decided when things “counted,” failing to realize the impact of his actions on others (e.g., coming to a meeting late meant the speaker is interrupted).
One of the best things you can do for your career in 2017 is to consciously determine the brand (aka, reputation) you want to build. Then, make sure your daily actions – not just end results – reflect this image. It’s not about being something you’re not, but rather ensuring your behaviors accurately reflect who you really are.
When choosing to believe words or actions, people choose actions every time.