The Age Old Question .. To Brand or Not to Brand

Ryan Rancatore interviewed the Wine Guy, Gary Vaynerchuk on personal branding … specifically, what personal branding has meant to his career. He has some thought provoking responses and the post is certainly read-worthy. 

Take this comment, for example …

People just don’t stay in jobs as long as they used to, it just makes sense to let people know who you are beyond your job title.

Authenticity. Visibility. Credibility. Building your personal brand fosters distinction among  the targeted audience of people who need to know about you. And it takes time. Rarely does anyone become an overnight success. Rather, they spend time consistently playing in a niched space, leveraging what they do well, building an authentic reputation, and growing their network. That means, the best time to build your personal brand is when you are ensconced in a position with a move 12-18 months in the future.

As Vaynerchuk also says, 

I’d ask one of the millions of unemployed workers if they didn’t wish they had spent time building a personal brand. 

There are only so many CFO and senior-level finance positions available. Winning one of those roles means you do what the competition isn’t doing … before you need to do it. 

CFO Turnover is Down … That’s Good, Right?’s recent interview with Tom Kolder, president of executive search firm, Crist/Kolder Associates, resulted in the article, “No Place Like Home." In it, Kolder talks about what he sees happening within top finance positions.

The title of the article speaks volumes. Quite succinctly, risk-averse finance execs are hunkering down. I’ve blogged about this phenomenon numerous times (see Social Media and Career Management and CFOs are Worried). 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with staying where you are … unless you are blindsided by a move that is forced on you. Here’s the piece of the story you can’t, and shouldn’t, ignore:

And there is still plenty of movement that is totally driven by the other end of the equation, where, rather than the CFO deciding to leave for a better opportunity, the company says, "We're not satisfied, we're making a change, this person's gone."

CFO searches are often confidential. If you believe there is corporate loyalty, the Board and CEO love you, and your job is safe, then perhaps you are not hunkering down … maybe you have your head stuck firmly in the sand. Believing it won't make it true.

You are the only one who is vested in your career. Your career is the thing that provides for your family and funds every other thing in your life. At the risk of repeating myself and boring you to death, you have the most power and are the most valuable while you are gainfully employed. So certainly, stay at home if it makes sense to do so, but be prepared to move! If you do the hard work of crystallizing your value proposition now while you’re still occupying that corner office, you won’t have to play catch-up from the curb.