What's Your Motivation OS?

Tony Robbins masterfully repackages Maslow's Hierarchy / Vedic Chakra based perspective that's definitely worth the 20min time investment.

Can Personal Branding Titles Hurt Your Personal Brand?

I've read a lot of Tom Peters and understand the concept of standing out from the crowd, but whenever someone claims that they are a "Visionary Entrepreneur", "Media Maverick" or a "Disruptive Innovator", my 1st reaction is not one of curiosity, but rather, what is it they actually do, and why is this person so full of themselves?

Mind you, I didn't come to this way of thinking without a few personal branding exercises of my own. A designer by training, futurist by thought, inventive and entrepreneurial by nature I also struggled with what to call myself to stand out from the crowd. I'm sure I appeared no less pompous and delusional when I've called myself "Meaning Architect", "Visioneer" or "Revolutionist"....the last one I was particularly fond of since I work with startups I really believe can lead to revolutionary change :(

I think what's missing here is that these personal branding titles are like the taglines from your favorite brands that you'll never remember even if your life depended on them! It the common delusion that you define your brand, and not your audience.

Think about it. Seth Godin calls himself a "Change Agent", but when you think of Seth (for those of you who dig his blog like me), you mostly remember that is a prolific and insightful marketing thinker who is one of the most popular blogger/business authors online. In other words, "Change Agent" is an exercise for Seth himself, but the fact that he's a blogger is a derivative of my (and yours) specific experience with his "brand".

So as the question is "Can personal branding titles hurt your brand?", maybe the real question is have your built one based on real experiences with an audience first? Calling yourself something cool without proving yourself worthy of the expectation is no different than any other hype (i.e, the annoying infomercial guy above).

....and as to what do I call myself? Well, I hope I can build a reputable enough brand for myself so that you, my readers, friends and colleagues can offer some suggestions :)

What Drives Three?

Ancient concepts of three interdependent components contributing to the well being of the whole, like the third eye depicted in the mask above have remained integral to many cultures over the ages for a reason. The rational explanation may be that it is easy for humans to process three interrelated things such as father-mother-child for the nuclear family or CEO-CMO-COO for the global business, but maybe it goes a bit deeper than that...

After a recent conversation with a friend about the three components that keep a business going (Distribution-Development-Operations), it suddenly occurred to me that maybe there is a deeper truth here that applies to all the three-pronged dynamics in the universe.

The obvious examples of the minimum requirements of legs on a stool, spokes on wheel, etc. are a given. They are about the structural rules which even translates to everything from writing to persuasion to choice architecture. The "a-ha" wasn't really that, it was the nature of the relationship which hold the three together that is most fascinating.

Within every architectural case there is a:

-Driver: Something that inspires the need
-Developer: Something that answers the need by creating
-Derivative: Something that is produced as a result needing to be managed in order for the cycle to continue

In most business paradigms, the "Driver" equals creating and delivering the market, i.e., sales and marketing..., The "Developer" equals the development of the product and/or service, i.e. R&D, engineering, design, architecture, etc... and the "Derivative" is the management challenges of a growing organization, i.e. operations.

The realization that the other two cannot exist without the "Driver" is crucial in understanding how all three pronged systems work. It's very easy to get distracted and spend energy on the "Developer" (trying to make the product perfect) or the "Derivative" (designing the most efficient operation management system) while losing focus on what drives them.

This is universal regardless of context, and definitely not limited to business. Here are some other examples:

1. Family: Providing, Nurturing, Prioritizing
2. Learning: Stimulus, Knowledge, Recall
3. Relevance: Need, Choice, Context

See what I'm getting at? What do you think?

Building Your Dream Team?

1. Don't Lie

2. Choose What Matters

I've always been a big fan of Dee Hock's philosophy on associates and have blogged about it often like this post. However compelling choosing by that priority may be philosophically (integrity, motivation, etc.), in practical terms the best results seem to happen when you recognize someone's true talent and help them succeed.

3. Respect

Designing 3.0?

Ever since Tim Brown dropped the Design as Strategy meme, the business world has been waking up to what we designers knew all along: Good design=Good business. While why it is more important than ever can be looked at from many perspectives, the fact that it actually IS is a no-brainer.

We are more and more likely to focus on its importance living more and more immersed in VirtuReality, so what does that mean for Design Thinkers and Design Professionals? More importantly, what does that mean for organizations who needs the knowledge capital of design to create its competitive advantage?

Being a designer at my core, I've seen my own career mature through the following transition first hand, and this is what I've observed:

Design 1.0: Attention
In the mass communication era, the primary advantage of design was grabbing attention. Visual aesthetics defined design, and designers were introduced into the mix after the strategic heavy lifting was already managed. Design set trends that influenced visual sensibilities of particular eras. Think about the iconography of the 20th century, like 20's Art Deco, 40's Hollywood, 50's Kitsch, 60's Flower Power, 70's Disco, and 80's Nagel prints and Miami Vice, 90's Hip Hop, etc...

Design 2.0: Interaction
In the post Cluetrain era of the connection economy, we realized how taking human usability factors into account can disrupt markets like the iPod did. Suddenly, interaction drove the design and measuring everything from web traffic to prescription labels mattered. Design is no longer just about looks, it's about engaging people.

Design 3.0: Integration
As heatmaps, sentiment analytics and even the design of the building blocks become second nature in considering design solutions, the real question becomes about design's relevance to the ecosystem. Design becomes more than just the front end "skinning" of the thought product or service, but rather part of the thought process to arrive at creating itself. Will your idea consider business model, brand and competitive strategy with design considerations at the onset, or will it do it after the fact. Can you really afford post-strategy design? Probably not.

While this post may seem self-serving, my honest intent is not that. I truly think that the quality of our thinking will directly affect the quality of life we all enjoy. Design is no longer for "designers", it is a Whole New Mindset for all of us to design the future we want for ourselves. Thoughts?

© 2006 GROW |