You should identify what you stand for as that is the basis for your personal brand. What are your key messages that you want someone to know about the value that you would add to a board and a company?
You will want to be crisp in distilling your career into three major digestible, thoughtful points. For example: What is your industry background?
What is your functional expertise? What stage of company are you a best fit for?
My career background is as a serial CEO and entrepreneur and my experience and strengths are in developing start-up and/or established high-growth companies. So my strengths lean more to this kind of board opportunity rather than trying to apply myself to the turnaround of a failing business.
This is my personal positioning, but you will need to think about your own and tailor it and be able to deliver your strengths in a concise way.
As you think about the unique essence of who you are as an executive, you will want to capture some of your distinguishing qualitative attributes. For example: Are you an inspirational leader?
Highlight your differentiating quantitative and qualitative attributes
Are you a visionary? Are you an amazing operator? Are you able to deal with global cultural issues? Are you able to pull together unique strategies? Figure out what are the qualitative experiences that are part of the core essence of who you are.
Quantitative attributes are more hard-coded, such as: Are you qualified as a financial expert and could you chair an audit committee? Have you had experience as a CEO running a company that went from $200 million to $1 billion in revenue? Or do you have healthcare sector experience?
These qualitative and quantitative attributes of your own “brand essence” are important so that you distill this in one or two short sound-bite sentences that are easily communicated and remembered so that as people meet you and come away from meeting you, they have a sense of not just your quantitative, measurable corporate experiences, but also your own personal
Here are some other things people will look for: Are you a consensus
builder? Are you collegial? Are you a deep listener? Are you collaborative? Are you entrepreneurial? Are you innovative? These are some of the things that contribute to a board, along with some of your global work experiences, such as being effective at introducing innovation on a large scale in a global, long-established value company. Entrepreneurial innovation, or any other of your qualitative attributes, is likely to apply to every corporation, so having an example that you can explain succinctly and crisply will not only demonstrate your experience but will also show off your skills as a good communicator.
When you create your own brand, you should articulate your personal values in a discreet way as part of the thematic messaging that you want to continuously reinforce and emphasize.
Betsy Atkins is a 3-time CEO, serial entrepreneur & founder of Baja Corporation. She is a corporate governance expert with an eye for making boards a competitive asset. Her latest book, “Be Board Ready: The Secrets To Landing A Board Seat And Being A Great Director” is available for purchase on Amazon.
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