Raise the Brand – Investing in your Skills

Raise the Brand – Investing in your skills

Have you ever felt like you were going nowhere in your job? No matter how much energy you expel, you just seem to be on a treadmill. For most it can be like fibre in our diet – bland and difficult to swallow. Maybe we want a win, the protein of success. Something for us to savour. Feeling depleted can tax our personal resilience, and dilute our sense of purpose. Maybe we need a better perspective instead? To see how even the most routine effort can maintain or raise the value of the brand we represent. [Note the author of this post is part of a team delivering professional training courses to business users on a daily basis to help improve efficiency and productivity]

What do you represent?

Imagine you are an apprentice, learning a trade in panel beating and spray painting. Working for a wage that barely compensates the long hard hours. However, your investment is building a reservoir of knowledge and skills. Perfection in the smallest detail is the relentless pursuit of your supervisor as you spend years reshaping damaged metal. The eagerness to do the real work is a daily frustration as you practice to perfect the running weld or the arc of a spray gun.

Finally, after years of intense focus on the basics you are challenged with your first autonomous efforts. Over time you successfully complete more complex tasks until the reward of a Certificate of Trade confirms ‘Craftsman’ and you are signed off at an industry standard. Yet more has been achieved than you may have realised.

Achieving this level for one of the most recognised brands on the planet, the trades-person with specialised skills has now become a market-place prize. Years of honing perfection and exacting detail, have transformed the apprentice into a master. Workmanship and quality go hand-in hand with the brand.

The brand which gives you an identity, is recognised as one of the leaders in the car manufacturing industry. The brand that sets the highest build quality and customer expectations.  Rolls Royce, Bentley, Lotus, McClaren.

Stands to reason.

Consider how much the brand you represent increases your professional worth. Like a football player who enjoys an association with Manchester United or Manchester City or Chelsea. They are worth more because of the standards that are expected. The elite of their profession, the best of the best.

Those long tedious hours going through the motions are an investment of your time and energy into perfecting the skills that define your brand. With each passing day, the brand raises in value and as it does, so does yours. They both work hand in hand.

Everyone matters

I was told of a friend who visited the amazing facilities of NASA who was struck by how clean and polished the amenities were. When he crossed paths with a cleaner he was quick to remark how superb the cleaning efforts were. The professional in the smart uniform responds – they take pride in their efforts, after all, he is part of the team that put the first man on the moon. How much do you think that attitude to the brand is worth in the market place today? Is he a Cleaner you would hire and how much would you be willing to pay?

Consider now the employee who can’t wait to tell his friends, or log onto the world of social media, and tell everyone how bad his company is. The one he toils at every day. He may point out that the company denies the efforts of a great worker, is constantly letting clients down and delivers bad service. How much might that brand be worth? How much will the employee be worth? Stands to reason.

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The Art of ‘No’. A surprisingly easy way to assert yourself

The Art of saying No.

A surprisingly easy way to assert yourself

The Power of No

One ill-placed No can rebound around you like an echo, haunting you for years to come. The only word you can practise speaking with warmth and engagement and still fail to use correctly. It has the dynamic of so much intention. From self-defence to a statement of authority. The ultimate denial or an aggressive attack. This one little word can hold the power of the world or drown out your vision. Get the delivery wrong and it can become your protagonist. For those of us who have been on the receiving end, the reply of ‘no’ can pillage energy from the mind like a ninja.

When you consider the power this one word can command, the skill of assertiveness seems to be weighted directly by the way we hurl this syllabic land-mine. The science of carefully blending the right tone, correct posture and lasered eye contact rarely comes together when you need it most. Most of the posturing and assertiveness gimmicks I have used in the past have failed dismally until I met one man who changed my life. I’m eager to share the wisdom.

So why use it at all?

You’re probably in a position where your opinion actually matters. Consider that your superior might not want to hear a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ in response to their closed question. That maybe, the test of your position has far greater importance in how you translate the question. For example, ‘will you have Project X done by 3pm this afternoon?’

Your best objection will be to grab a prop, in this case ‘time’ with both hands and eagerly command the use of it. Open the humble diary. Yielding more power than a tax audit, this device can be the best topic you have ever discussed in three steps.

With the boss waiting for an answer you comment “That’s a great project. I would love to finish it as it’s incredibly important. Let me check my diary and see what I can hold off for you.”

And now the boss leans in and observes the heavy handed-writing across the dated page “No, you can’t push that back, you can’t hold that up.” And in a smooth exchange of priorities the discussion launches into time, that one invaluable commodity shared and acknowledged by all. Bring time into the conversation and watch as plans are made. Welcome to your new servant, the art of not saying ‘no’. Time Management is just one way.

Another point of view?

In dialogue, professional leadership can also manage situations without saying no, by working from the other perspective. Although a tad harsh, consider that your opinion to another is now unimportant. They may be absorbed in their desired outcome. Take what the person has said and reflect it back to them, then turn it into a question. I would obviously not do this all the time however look at the pro’s. It is a great way of summarising and with the right assertiveness training it becomes easy. It is a great way to show your understanding and it’s an even better way to acknowledge the other persons point of view.

When asked if a report can be done by 3pm I might simply reply, ‘So the report needs to be done by 3pm, in what format would you like it?’ By mere reflection I can avoid ‘no’ and at the same time acknowledge that I am on the same page. Avoid saying ‘no’ and become a class act, your communication skills are now a work of art.