Now is unquestionably the best time to be a technology leader. Analysts and experts agree that technology is driving strong economic growth and fueling prosperity. This is our moment, and we are truly fortunate.
That said, none of us can afford to rest on our laurels. We all need to build our personal brands and enhance our reputations as leaders. The process of brand building is continual. It requires our attention and our energy.
Brand building and career ascent will be among the key topics explored at the upcoming 2019 Silicon Valley CIO Executive Leadership Summit on Aug. 29 at the Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park, CA. We urge you to register for this high-value summit, which includes an amazing roster of world-class speakers, presenters and panelists.
In advance of the summit, we spoke with four experienced technology executives and long-time members of the HMG Strategy global community. Here’s a selection of their expert advice for building and nurturing your personal brand:
“Think of a brand you love, such as Pepsi or Nike,” says Ralph Loura, SVP and CIO at Lumentum. “What do those brands stand for? Think about for yourself and talk to business unit peers or former colleagues and ask them what they would say about you. If they say they see you as transformational, that’s great. If you’re described as the guy who keeps the projector going, take steps to change that.”
Ralph will be speaking on the topic of Business Centric Technology Leadership at the 2019 Silicon Valley CIO Executive Leadership Summit. In our recent conversation, he agreed that building your personal brand is more important than ever before.
“From a role perspective, we all get typecast. You’re either a transformational leader or good at containing costs or deploying ERP systems. So, if you want to change your brand, you need to change how you’re being perceived,” says Ralph.
Mark Egan, Partner, StrataFusion, will also be speaking at the summit. He recommends focusing on your core strengths and using them to enhance your reputation as a thought leader. “I encourage people find relevant topics and then to write blogs and speak at events as much as possible,” says Mark. “There are so many opportunities for professionals like us to demystify technology and simplify complicated topics like cyber security.”
Successful leaders work on their personal brands habitually. “Don’t wait until you’re looking for a job,” says Mark. “You should be building your personal brand and extending your network continually. The HMG Strategy events are great opportunities for brand building and learning.”
Brand building involves getting out of your comfort zone and listening to what other people are saying. Seasoned thought leaders spend most of their time listening and learning. “Find out what people are interested in and learn more about their points of view,” says Mark.
Social media creates an atmosphere of transparency that some find uncomfortable. Smart leaders, however, leverage social media to expand their influence and build up their credibility.
“The number one rule is to do your job first. The more you excel at what you do the more your brand will shine. For internal branding I recommend getting out of your comfort zone and getting involved in your business with your business peers. Being seen as someone who goes above and beyond the duty of their day-to-day job and gets actively involved with the business always bodes well internally,” says Patrick Steele, Chair of the CIO Advisory Board at Blumberg Capital.
From an external perspective, Pat recommends getting active in community services and serving on boards. “The exposure to others and outside issues helps you grow and broadens your experience. I also recommend being active in industry association events. If there is and HMG Summit taking place near where you are, getting involved in planning and presenting is excellent for your career growth.”
Jon Roller, Chief Information Officer at Horsley Bridge Partners, also highlights the value of industry events and conferences. “Industry conferences are great places to meet people who may be on similar career paths. Treat those conferences as not only learning experiences, but as branding exercises. Get to know panelists and volunteer to be on panels. Find professional organizations that you are interested in. Those organizations allow you to get to know like professionals and build real relationships. Your brand and network is going to help drive your opportunities,” says Jon.
In addition to attending conferences and summits, it’s important to expand your knowledge of the business. “Understanding the business side of the company is absolutely essential. You can't just be a technology person. You have to understand sales and marketing and how they drive the business. Same with finance and product,” says Jon.
In many respects, brand building is a discipline requiring constant practice. “Always work on yourself. Don't expect the world overnight. It takes time and work ethic to build your brand. But it's an essential element to career ascent,” says Jon.
You can learn more about techniques for building your personal brand and accelerating your career ascent at the upcoming 2019 Silicon Valley CIO Executive Leadership Summit on Aug. 29. Space is limited, so please register soon. We look forward to meeting you in person at the summit and supporting your efforts to build your brand and elevate your career as a technology leader.