Construction site crane building a blue 3D text. Part of a series.

During the process of hiring me to speak at his banking institution’s August event in Minneapolis, my client shared this: 

“John, I know your QBQ! message of personal accountability is perfect for our organization because so much comes down to one’s personal brand.”

When I asked Pat (an executive who saw me speak in 2012) to expand, he offered this scenario:

Pat had just coached a staff member that morning to understand that when he interacts with anyone—not just colleagues, but people outside the organization, too—there are two things to keep in mind:

1. You are an ambassador for this organization and its brand to all people at all times.

2. You are building your own brand.

I imagine the coaching of the “underling” might’ve gone like this: 

Your reputation is your personal brand. Do you want the word to get around, for example, that you’re difficult to work with, not service-minded, don’t respond to people, and care little about the team’s goals? Or, would you prefer to have the reputation of being a collaborative, responsible, team player who can always be counted on?

I hope the young staff member didn’t say, “Hmm, let me think about that.” :-)

Pat’s fundamental message: 

  • Every person has a personal brand.
  • Every person is accountable for that brand.

In considering your current brand at work, which of these key adjectives would you assign to … you?

  1. Outstanding
  2. Good
  3. Mediocre
  4. Lousy

Remember, the brand that I am—and the brand that I am becoming—is a result of my choices. To be outstanding, I must choose to ask The Question Behind the Question, “What can I do to enhance my brand?”

Now that’s a question worth asking—today!

How did you rate yourself using our four key words above?
How muchand in what waydoes our “personal brand” really matter?
Share below!
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About John G. Miller

John G. Miller is the author of QBQ! The Question Behind the Question, Flipping the Switch: Unleash the Power of Personal Accountability, Outstanding! 47 Ways to Make Your Organization Exceptional and co-author of Parenting the QBQ Way. He is founder of QBQ, Inc., an organizational development firm based in Colorado dedicated to “Helping Organizations Make Personal Accountability a Core Value.” A 1980 graduate of Cornell University, John has been involved in the training and speaking industry since 1986. He lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife, Karen. They have seven children and three grandchildren.

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13 Responses to “4 Words: Which One Best Describes … You?”

  1. pony

    The truth is – individual brand is more powerful than corporate brand. I’ll never meet CEO Fred DeLuca … but the smiling young “sandwich artist” who cheerfully and efficiently builds my six-inch tuna on wheat with American cheese, spinach, cucumber, green pepper and black olives IS Subway to me!

    Reply
  2. Rick

    Wow- incredibly timely!- I was just doing a personal review of how I am personally carrying out the things important to our company. The 4 adjectives are just what I needed to read. Thanks

    Reply
  3. karen

    Hi John, great message; but this is not something new…parents give this message each day to their children. It should not be a message that is given to someone starting out in the workforce who represents a company. It is a message that is modeled and reinforced when children leave the house with “remember, you represent this family when you are out and about…” or when they are a member of a school or community organization, “you represent this town and this school, play with honor”…etc. By the time they get to a job in the workforce, the “branding” behavior should already have been imprinted….

    Reply
  4. Nick

    I love this. I’m of the mindset that I can be “outstanding” or I can be “gone soon.” We get so little time here in this great place we call Earth, why waste any of it doing anything less than outstanding?

    Reply
  5. John

    Touche! Once again, a timely word that reminded me of a greater word, where we are instructed to pursue excellence in all we do. Thank you for helping me keep perspective. It’s not what lies behind us or before us that matters as much as what lies within us, and comes out of us.

    Reply
  6. John Burke

    Great point John! We all need to keep in mind the VALUE we have in the reputation (brand) we create and how quickly we can permanently destroy that reputation.

    Reply
  7. Denise Fleming

    Great points! I think many people lack confidence which has a great deal to do with branding. This lack of confidence can come from being in the wrong field to working for a company who micro-manages. Bottom line, if you aren’t outstanding for the company you work for, find other work. I wanted to share a funny comment my step-daughter made to my husband today at dinner. He was about to ask a question and she said, “Dad, are you going to ask an IQ question again?” We have been really working on living a QBQ lifestyle and it’s happily rubbing off on the kids! :) Thanks for all of your wisdom!

    Reply

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