- Who & Why?
Several years ago I wrote a post on treating your clients like you treat your pets. I still get requests and inquiries about that post, including one just two weeks ago.
So here’s a post along the same lines. This post came about as a result of a conversation with a client last week. She was pointing out that she’s not sure how her brand comes across at work. New in her position as General Counsel of a major corporation, she is working on developing a brand that works for her and for others in her organization. Part of that brand is making sure she is seen as competent, yet warm and caring.
The dialogue then turned to the fact that she is not a particularly “smiley” person. In other words, her natural tendency is not to have a smile on her face. I appreciate this tendency, as I’m not a naturally smiley person either. Many people are not naturally prone to smile, and thus do not have an open and inviting face, during interactions with others during the day.
So I told her what I tell myself all the time. You have to practice and have self-awareness around how you are coming across. You have to practice putting a smile on your face- regularly! I asked her when she finds herself the most animated and smiling the most. Not surprisingly, when she goes home to her kids she is most animated and smiling in an effort to connect with them and show them her affection for them.
I told her the same mentality needs to, and can, apply at work. She needs to approach her staff and colleagues the same way she approaches her kids- with a mentality of connecting with them via animation and smiles. In my mind there is no difference. Sure, the audience differs. However, the end goal is exactly the same.
So stop and think to yourself:
– Are you a “smiley” person or not?
– How often do you smile at work? As much as you smile at home? If not, why?
– How animated are you with your clients and colleagues? Do they connect with you and “get” your communication and affinity for them and your work?
If you answered any of the above questions in the negative, then you’ve got some work to do. Get busy practicing that smile and remember, clients respond to smiles and attention just like kids.
Former securities lawyer turned branding expert, Katy Goshtasbi, shares her story and tips for Lawpreneurs to have a successful business and a happy life. http://lawpreneurradio.com/katy-goshtasbi/
In this world where we are all running around in a hurry trying to get who-knows-where, stop and think to yourself: what’s the best thing you have to give? If we look at what we know to be “for sure” in life, we’ll find that besides death and taxes, time is a sure thing.
What do I mean by this? We only have so much life to live. So how much are you giving to your life and where? Your time and where you choose to put it really are in your control. If you think otherwise, then you are getting sucked into the game of “there is never enough time”. You may be out of balance.
If you look at your career and aspirations, there are certain things that are very important for you. For instance, if you are a lawyer, then becoming a partner is valued because not everyone can achieve it, only the “elite”. If you are looking to get promoted within your company or get a new and better job, then that is valued because your new title/job signals something to others- that you’ve made it.
But what have you really “made” it to? Put another way, what are the costs of your success? Maybe your success costs you your relationships? Maybe your happiness and joy in life? Or maybe both? It really can be very lonely on the top. Is it just too painful to step back and observe? Is that why you read this and subconsciously think it is non-sense and “fluff”?
I believe all great personal brands (and thus successful people) have balance in their lives. Unfortunately, because of the stressors and demands of particular careers (i.e., lawyers and doctors), we are out of balance and oftentimes, not even aware of it.
Balance means that we stop and assess our lives. As Byron Katie said when I interviewed her, we stop and “sort out our lives” by sitting still. Then we can find that we want our time to mean something. If all we have is our time and how we give to others, allow yourself to do things that you love to do- things that nurture, enrich and balance you. For instance, doing community service that actually and truly enriches the community nurtures and enriches you, too.
If you stay out of balance long enough no one wants to be around you, much less hire you. That’s the sign of a failing personal brand. Eventually anything out of balance succumbs to natural forces and tips over. Don’t let that be you. Find your balance and center. Now, that’s a great brand.
TELL US WHAT YOU DO TO STAY IN BALANCE.
I’m a huge tennis fan. I used to play. When I stopped playing, together my father and I watched Wimbledon, the French Open and the US Open.
Djokovic beat out Federer in a fantastic match yesterday to win Wimbledon. Both were fantastic athletes and both handled the win and loss very well on camera. The on-camera interviews went really well- right in the middle of Center Court.
While Djokovic is very likable and spoke eloquently and with emotion when interviewed, I do wonder if Djokovic could have spoken a bit more smartly. I’m a big advocate of being genuine and speaking from the heart. Djokovic at some point in the interview said something to the point that Wimbledon is his favorite tournament and that he loves it there best. It was certainly genuine and sincere. However, I winced. The first and only thought I had was what about the other tournaments- US Open, French Open, etc!? Is he not planning on ever playing anywhere else in the four Grand Slams?
In order to keep the “love” flowing to the fact that he is a man all about tennis and to develop the brand that does not alienate other tournaments and fans, Djokovic could have worded his feelings and statement a bit differently and still been genuine. Perhaps he could have kept his comments to something like, “winning Wimbledon means so much to me” or “I love being at Wimbledon”. Same effect, just as genuine, less alienating of the other Grand Slams and fans.
Just some thoughts on brand development of a great athlete. Not the end of the world or the brand and certainly doesn’t take anything away from the beauty of the match. My point is to make sure the fans recognize the athlete’s contribution and love of the sport in general, not just one venue. That’s what keeps a great brand (and endorsement deals?) thriving.
A common conversation I have with attorneys revolves around the almighty billable hour. Depending on how long they have been in practice and where they are in their career, they are either wondering how to monitor the hours (i.e., hire/fire others who don’t meet them) or trying to figure out how to meet their own hours.
One thing applies to all of them across the board when it comes to billable hours- they are all stressed out. Many are to the point of obsession about their billable requirements. This obsession leads to all sorts of nasty things- like paralysis, I dare say. According to my research, there is a direct inverse correlation between your self confidence and stress. The higher your stress, the lower your self-confidence and thus, the poorer your personal brand for others.
So what, you say? What does this have to do with my billable requirement?
Well, I believe that the pressure to bill X number of hours leads to higher stress and less productivity. In other words, lawyers produce worse and less. The other detriment of this is of course that lawyers are angry, anxious and perhaps at the point of desperation where they’ll compromise their integrity to bill enough….all leading to a bad public brand perception of our industry.
What if there was a peaceful, productive atmosphere and less angst around the almighty billable? I’m not disillusioned when I suggest this- I’ve been there, done that. It didn’t work then, it hasn’t worked for others since. And it is only getting worse.
If you are “in charge” and reading this consider creating a work atmosphere that is less tense and focused on the billable hour. Try something new and be daring. It can’t fail.
If you are reading this and you are identifying with my message because you “must bill”, then what about trying something new. What if you work it the other way: set your PERSONAL weekly billable goal lower and exceed it. Watch the stress go down and your productivity and happiness go up. Also, consider what’s the worst that can happen if you don’t bill “enough”? If the answer isn’t “death” then I think you know what to do.