Why Have a Personal Value Proposition?

Bob Wiesner | May 15, 2018

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We’ve all been hammered relentlessly with the importance of fitting in with culture, being part of a team, showing some humility.

Maybe some companies have taken this too far.

In my work, I’ve seen many new hires at organizations who fit in so well, management is hard pressed to actually tell what each person is uniquely bringing to the company. If your value is equal to that of the other person, than you can easily be replaced by that other person.

Also, too much fitting in often means too little innovation. Too many dull, interchangeable ideas. Maybe some fine execution, but not a lot of compelling strategy.

Relationships and Performance Suffer

People often aren’t valued enough at work, as noted in this HBR article. There’s practical advice in it on how to address issues that arise when you see yourself in this situation.

The solutions are good, but tactical. And they’re missing something. Why did the perception of lack of value happen in the first place?  Has the person not been aware of how they’re really valued? Does the culture of the organization not notice the benefits of the individual brand?

It’s good for the organization when they can identify people who offer something unique. Then they know who to put on what project to achieve an outcome better than the last time. So the organization will, organically, attach a “brand” to each person. It’ll formulate judgements on its own.

And those judgments might be based on observations that may not be complete. So the judgments are inaccurate. The person suffers. And so does the company.

Build Your Personal Brand 

It’s far better for the company – and for the individual – for that employee to establish a personal brand early in her career. That brand then becomes the driving force behind how the person contributes, how she grows, how she’s valued.

I work with firms to help their people uncover their own personal value propositions. Every time I do, people emerge with new personal insights. They take on projects with more confidence. They raise their hands for assignments, for training, for increased responsibilities, because they know

  1. it’ll enhance their brand,
  2. it’ll be a great opportunity for meaningful contributions to themselves, their team and their company, and
  3. it’ll help them grow faster

Most importantly, with a powerful personal brand, they have renewed energy to apply their value propositions to as many opportunities as possible. And where their personal brands don’t fit as well as they should with job requirements, they are energized to learn, to develop, to make it work. All excellent outcomes for both individual engagement and company performance.

Here’s a concern I get frequently: Making too much of my individual brand will make me seem like I’m not a team player. Yes, that might be true in some organizations. And, yes, having a  personal brand is worthless if you’re not willing to communicate it, nurture it, and protect it.

There are strategies and tactics to make the personal value proposition work to the benefit of the employee and the organization. It starts with the courage to identify the personal brand and put it out there for others to see.



Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Our Managing Perceptions workshop might be the most exciting new offering from WCG in the last three years. It’s a one-day program that helps participants at all levels of the organization identify their strengths and build their own personal brand statement.

Then we identify how to make the personal brand statement a reality on the job. We look for opportunities to express the brand more often in the day-to-day responsibilities of one’s job. See how to set priorities and approach tasks to be more fulfilling and more effective.

And we look at the personal brand statement as career management tool. If your job doesn’t allow you to use and enhance your brand, it doesn’t mean you’re in the wrong job. There are ways of taking more control of your career trajectory within your current company. The result is a happier and more productive employee who’s a lot less likely to leave.

Managing Perceptions goes beyond the personal brand statement to look at all the ways that one creates an impression with colleagues, bosses and clients. Finally, it shows you how to manage that impression so you’re viewed in the most authentic, positive light.

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