Are You Taking Care Of Your Most Powerful Asset?
It’s easy to make this one fatal career mistake. We neglect to nurture the most important asset we have to accelerate success as our careers evolve. Do so at our peril. Are you stuffing up?
Does this sound familiar? We get so absorbed working ‘in’ the business of what we do that we forget to work ‘on’ ourselves and our own ‘branding.’ We fail to keep building profile, reputation and ‘opportunity momentum.’ Oscar Wilde: “There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”
Critical to career success is being talked about- positively- by people who have networks and influence. It’s classic ‘word-of-mouth’ marketing. We spend big time working on building word-of-mouth for product and company brands. We have to do the same for our professional brands – to build ‘goodwill equity’ over time with a small group of executives who will refer us to career opportunity. These rare supporters become your:
MICRophones: Most Important Career Referrers.
It’s a small group, that’s for sure. But it’s a loyal group.
I have been touched by the effort my MICRophones have made to help give me confidence and support during this career transition phase I am in- currently half way through six months ‘gardening leave’ since quitting my job. The surprise has been who those MICRophones have actually been- who have stepped up for me. Many have been unexpected. And many I expected to be quick to help have been strangely silent.
Andrew Parker taught me this idea. He used it for people who referred clients to his consulting firm. He called them his MICRophones: Most Important Client Referrers. We have to treat our MICRophones like gold. They are the fuel that turbos our business growth.
And here’s the issues. We spend almost no effort on doing the same ‘nurturing’ for those few and very rare people who talk US up as individuals to others.
They keep an eye open for opportunity for you, suggest people link with you, ring you with ideas about what you can do to grow. They’re often the people you’d ask to be your referees. They are in your corner and, for whatever reason, want you to do well.
Think hard right now about who your Most Important Career Referrers are. Make a list. Add a couple who you’d like to develop into this category. Then make a plan to let this small group, individually, know how much you appreciate them. Make damned sure you connect with them regularly. And thank them often.
Your MICRophones are your most powerful career asset, whether they refer clients, or refer opportunity to you as an individual.
They fuel positive word-of-mouth about you, and build your brand, usually when you have no idea at all that they are doing so. Make them feel very special. Why? Because they are!