Professional Brand Equity

A few days ago I spoke with an unemployed CFO who was struggling to decide whether he wanted to go back into consulting or the corporate world. He offered a perspective that I think many executives, not just senior finance executives, share …

I have to make a career decision go back into corporate life that may or may not have loyalty –or- go build my own equity and control my destiny.

The two are not mutually exclusive, but it probably feels that way because most people in the corporate world only think about their career when they are facing or enduring unemployment. When you own your business or consulting practice, you are forced to think … every single day … about packaging, positioning, target audience, and reputation. In reality, “every” executive should be thinking about their career in the same way, every day.

This CFO is right in his statement that a company “may or may not have loyalty,” but why give the company (employer) that power? You, as an accomplished professional, could have take back control by ensuring that you have a strong brand, that it is visible to your target audience, that you are networking consistently to build relationships (including recruiter relationships) long before you need them.

Whether you are self-employed or a corporate player, “you” are the only one who is vested in your career. Build your brand equity as a high-value player and then take total control of your destiny. Cliff Hakim wrote a book entitled “We Are All Self-Employed,” … and he’s right. Many corporate executives just haven’t realized that point.

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4 thoughts on “Professional Brand Equity”

  1. Cindy,

    If there is anything we can take with us as we are leaving the recession behind, it is that there is no such thing as “job security”. The only place such a thing exists is in between the ears of the person who thinks he or she has it.

    We are all Free Agents. That is why actively networking and working to be visible and valuable is key to the long-term success of any current or future CFO.

    Samuel Dergel
    Senior Partner & Practice Leader, CFO Search
    Twitter: @cfo2grow and @cfo2dergel

  2. This is great, Cindy. And so true! It’s interesting you talk about not giving an employer so much power. What a valuable lesson to learn. We are the ones most accountable for our security and relevance. Yesterday I was leading a round table for job seekers and a person mentioned not wanting to work for a particular company because it doesn’t invest in the development of its staff. Though I appreciate that concern, my response was why that individual wasn’t investing in herself regardless of an employer’s commitment to do so. Where did people get the idea by working for a company we give that company sole ownership in our career potential. We are all responsible for doing all we can to make sure we can provide for ourselves and our families now and in the future. I love that more people are thinking more about being their own company. The trick is getting them to realize they are their own company even when the work for someone else.

  3. <> – BINGO, Lisa! We are all self-employed and when “employees” don’t embrace and live by that mentality, they give the power for their job security, job longevity, and ability to support their families to others who are not vested in those things.

    Thanks for reading and for commenting, Lisa. Your insight and remarks are spot on!


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