We have a tendency to complicate things. We look at those who's careers we admire or want to emulate and we convince ourselves that they have some secret sauce or some magical talents. What I have found the past ten years of working with extraordinary talents is just the opposite. They absolutely crush the simple things and create timeless skills and personal brands.
The four things that we should focus on in 2019 are:
One: Be BOLD.
Focus on your differentiators. We are all snowflakes, I get that but what distinguishes you from the rest of the pack? Is it your experience, education, skill sets, or maybe your network? When you are selling yourself in an interview what's your value proposition? You're standing in front of a camera, live or recorded, what makes you stand out to your audience? Your ability to quickly turn content, likability, authenticity, affiliation?
Once you've identified your differentiators, you need to do a couple things:
Make sure there is market value in them and determine what that is worth?
Double down on leveraging them. Stay away from spending too much time, energy, and resource on developing your weaknesses.
Ask for what you want! I can't help but think of all the times we beat around the bush because we are afraid to ask for something, or worse, we are afraid to tell someone close to us how we feel. I have a client that needs the help I can give them to get to the next step, actually getting them off the launch pad, but they continually reject proposals and opportunities out of pride. Be Bold. Become vulnerable and watch what can happen!
Two: Love your AUDIENCE.
Love your audience, your clients, and your employer. 2018 was a year of division, channel shift, and amazing levels of public shaming. The source of the polarity is almost always social networks. Here's the deal, if you are in the public eye or in a leadership position with a lot of visibility, there will be others that will say extremely rude and unfounded derogatory things about your appearance, your ability and talent, your leadership style, they will even shamelessly attack your family or even your Mother!
It takes a tremendous amount of emotional maturity to resist the urge to fight back when many times (but not all) it's flight, not fight, that should be the course of action. When you fight back via social media you are really just playing to your existing followers and friends. It feels good because they are soooo supportive. The reality is that others are watching and most, certainly the most influential ones, run from this kind of public conflict. They simply don't want to be attached to it. Although this is most prevalent in the world of multimedia, it's plays out exactly the same way in the Boardroom. While you are duking it out in public, the real influencers are quietly redirecting and running away.
Three: Build a TOOLBOX.
Build a new toolbox. Choose a direction and be intentional, not impulsive in your actions. Develop your own branded social media strategy. Start by identifying all of your networks and their audience's interests. Identify what your position and value is among your audience members and create original thought and content that supports your differentiators. Build a hub and spoke approach for your content using your website, Facebook, or LinkedIn as the hub and Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat as your spokes.
Create a vault of content ideas by keeping a journal and/or photo gallery that you manage. This becomes your database for fresh content that you can pull from. Marry impactful images with differentiated content and become a great social media merchandiser. Think of merchandising your content like a retailer would build an end cap in their store. Timing is EVERYTHING. If you publish content when your audience is offline you'll be squandering opportunity. Merchandising skills are an integral part of your toolbox.
Probably the most important skill in your toolbox is the ability to create a compelling Elevator Pitch. Being able to be dropped in a social networking situation and deliver a spot on elevator pitch is a differentiator in itself! Recall my methodology for simple and unforgettable elevator pitch construction. It has three parts:
Who are you? your background, your pedigree.
What you've done? your relevant accomplishments.
Where you are headed, what's next?
Four: Become TIMELESS.
To become timeless you must be comfortable with perpetuating the learning process. All too often my clients see change like events. "Ok, that's done, I'm good" should become "Ok, let's see how that works and look for opportunities to make it better." When you adopt a lifestyle that focuses on opportunities to leverage your strengths, you will become timeless by definition. The ability to adapt and apply knowledge, experience, and a differentiated skill set is key to becoming timeless. Think about your role models and industry leaders and I bet you'll see these characteristics in them.
There are some lifelong skills that you should be honing regardless of where you are today. Your ability to successfully interview and negotiate will serve you the balance of your career (and life). Managing decision making in highly politicized environments using a "3I's" analysis, looking at issues, institutions, and their interests, will serve you forever. Finally, understanding that every successful career manager can effective play to both the pushes and pulls to reach their objectives. These are attributes of the timeless, not the timed-out.
Be BOLD. Love your AUDIENCE. Build a TOOLBOX. Become TIMELESS. Four simple words and concepts. Your focus on these is key to a successful 2019 and beyond and most importantly, these four concepts will help you navigate the incredible channel shifts that are taking place in every industry and organization today.
About Mike McNamara:
Mike has held C-Suite, Executive and Senior Sales, Marketing, Business Development, and General Management roles with Equifax, Cox Enterprises, WW Grainger, and Federal-Mogul Corporation. Mike has led sales, service and operations organizations of over 1,500 associates and accountable for P&L responsibility in excess of $250M.
Dedicated to giving back, Mike formed The MBAR Group in 2009 with the sole intent of providing pro bono career and business consulting services to underprivileged and under-served markets. Today as founder | CEO of TalentBlvd, he coaches a number of high profile executives and media personalities as well as holding advisory board positions guiding a number of multimedia and small business startups.
Mike earned his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University and Bachelor of Science from Michigan State University. He is a past chapter President of the American Marketing Association. Mike and family split time between their adopted state of Missouri and family home in NW Michigan where their philanthropic causes include The Kingdom House - St Louis, BACN in Benzonia, MI., and Samaritan’s Purse, Boone NC.