Home' HR Monthly : HRM HRM06 DecJan 2015 Contents December 2014/January 2015 HRMonthly 25
MARY VAN DE WIEL
1. Be an agile, curious
thinker. You’ll become the
one to watch.
2. Take risks. Trust your
gut (with a dose of critical
thinking), and then
leap. Suggest an idea
to improve a negative
situation or create a plan
that might make waves.
If your intention is to
make something better,
be willing to fail (but fail
3. Escape your comfort
zone. In our digitally
converged world, if you’re
looking to innovate or
reimagine the future at
your company, you might
have to go out on a limb.
Get used to doing it.
Because the moment you
start making a difference,
the more heads will turn
in your direction. That’s a
But unless you stand out, you’ll never achieve
anything better than mediocrity, says Madigan.
“Be brave. Speak up when it’s worth it and you know
what you’re talking about. But never rock the boat for
the sake of it. The safest way to stand out with your
brand is to take people along with you on the journey.”
HR people are wising up to how investing in personal
branding can help employees excel, stay happy in
their jobs over the long-term and, in turn, sing their
organisation’s praises, she says.
“Employees are the best advertising a company has,
because a happy employee is an asset both within and
outside the company. Think about it: what are some
of the first questions you ask someone when you meet
them? – What do you do? Where do you work? Do
you like it?
The trap of blending in
While some may believe blending in is the best
way to ‘get along’ with managers and colleagues
at work, it can spell career suicide, warns
international branding exper t Mary van de Wiel,
and 2014 AHRI National Convention speaker,
whose clients include Sydney Opera House,
American Airlines, Vogue, Sony and Sydney
International Airpor t.
“PERSONAL BRANDING MOTIVATES,
INSPIRES AND ALLOWS INDIVIDUALS
TO DARE TO EXPLORE ALL KINDS
THE BUSINESS OF BRAND
INTELLIGENCE FOUNDER AND CEO, MARY VAN DE WIEL
“Don’t try blending in at work unless you want to
become 100 per cent invisible – or you’re in a cooking
class,” she jokes.
“If you’re serious about reving up your career,
bring more value to the table than anyone else. Stand
out. Be passionate and persistent in what you believe.
Be curious and poised to give your ideas and opinions
a voice. This takes courage.”
Organisations benefit from this behaviour because,
if employees feel empowered, their willingness to
‘lean in’ and do their best delivers an innovative edge,
says van de Wiel. “Personal branding motivates,
inspires and allows individuals to dare to explore all
kinds of possibilities.”
Discussing your career story at work – explaining
your role, your past work and your future goals in
an engaging manner – can also make your personal
brand stand out and help you click with others.
“When colleagues start sharing their career stories,
they start to understand each other better – hugely
powerful stuff. It can shift a group dynamic.
“I love this quote by the Sufi poet Hafiz: ‘The
words you speak become the house you live in.’”
Andrew Mackenzie, CEO of AltusQ experiential
coaching, with IBM, Skandia, St George Bank,
AMP and Nespresso on his client list, reels off
examples of inspiring personal brands for him.
Former Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO
David Murray is “highly intelligent, controversial
and trusted”; Tim Flannery is “a trusted advisor
on our environment”; RedBalloon founder Naomi
Simpson is “very focused on the company message
of ‘changing gifting’ in Australia”; Royal Perth
Hospital burns unit head Fiona Wood has a ‘we’re
there to help’ brand that’s “consistent, regardless
of conditions and circumstances”; and foreign
minister Julie Bishop is “a strong, intelligent, concise
There’s a direct correlation between happy
employees who feel like they belong within
the organisation and productivity up-lift, says
Mackenzie. For that to occur, personal branding
must match the circumstances and personality of the
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