Blogger’s Park: What comes first: Building competence or a personal brand? | The Financial Express

Blogger’s Park: What comes first: Building competence or a personal brand?

Your personality, your business card

Blogger’s Park: What comes first: Building competence or a personal brand?
Prof Moorthy said, like a good B-School academic, we must look at this dilemma of building competence and a personal brand through a two by two matrix.

By Ambi Parameswaran

Prof Jankiraman Moorthy (SPJIMR) had an interesting observation after listening to several questions that were asked at a book launch. The questions were about what should come first: building your competence or building your personal brand. A few questioners were of the opinion that building a personal brand was futile and a waste of time: If you do a good job you will end up building a good personal brand. Some others felt even more negative towards the art of personal brand building: it is just a waste of time and is resorted to only by those who don’t have the skills to do a good job.

Prof Moorthy said, like a good B-School academic, we must look at this dilemma of building competence and a personal brand through a two by two matrix. You can have good competence or not-so-good competence, on one axis. On the other axis, you can have good personal brand building or poor personal brand building.

Let us now look at the four quadrants. In the first quadrant of good competence and good personal brand building lay the pot of gold. You have excellent competencies and you are doing a good job of spreading the word by building a distinct personal brand. You stand apart from your colleagues who may be equally competent, because you also have spent the time building your brand by developing a presence, a voice and a communication style, both in offline and online media. You shine like a star.

Now to the next quadrant. High on competence but low on personal brand building. Here you are doing a great job and are winning kudos. People appreciate your competencies, you get the right ‘pat on the back’ but may be nothing more. You may or may not get promoted in time. You may or may not get the right job assignments. All told you are doing well (but for your colleague who may have adopted the quadrant 1 strategy). You are a workhorse.

We are now left with two other quadrants. Both of which say that you are not high on competence. In quadrant three you are low on competence but high on personal brand building. You try hard to build a distinctive brand. But you sound hollow and are seen as a sham. In fact, your personal brand building efforts may expose your weaknesses even faster than otherwise. As the saying goes, heavy advertising kills a bad product in double quick time. You are just a shooting star, set to burn out soon.

The last quadrant is where you are not too competent and are not bothered about building your brand. Here you are a survivor. Hiding from the public glare and avoiding getting discovered. It is possible that this strategy, if there is one, may extend your life in an organisation. You are the mole, hiding from public glare. A Dilbert maybe?

In short, if you want to build a personal brand that will yield dividends you should do it after you are confident that you have the competencies to do your job well. If not, your personal brand may end up hurting you more than helping you.

The writer is author of ‘All The World’s A Stage – A Personal Branding Story’

Also Read: Flipkart identifies tier-2 and tier-3 markets as key areas for growth; reduces shipment cost to drive high-profit margins 

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First published on: 07-12-2022 at 09:31:00 am
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