Great product management is at the core of a company’s success. As a company, if you create good products and take good care of them then you have a higher likelihood of success. There are many examples of great and terrible products in every industry. There are also many examples of great products that were not well-managed, or great products that were tarnished because of a single event. I am sure each of us can list quite a few examples in each of these categories.
We are also a “product,” but most people don’t think of themselves as a “product.” We go through our daily work routines without “managing” our image and brand. We rarely stop to think of how we should manage our personal “product” and what needs to be done to make it better and more valuable.
Taking care of our image and making sure that we have a great reputation should be one of our top priorities. Our value is rarely determined by us, and most often it is determined by individuals around us and especially those that are observing our work. Most companies have a process in place to collect performance information from various individuals during the performance management process. Feedback that is collected is usually based on what people think of us and how they value our performance.
Your brand is important in determining the value you have to the company. Your career trajectory and your pay are directly related to your product. If you do a great job of managing your “product” then you will mostly likely make more money, have a better chance for advancement and increase your odds for success.
Everything we do in the workplace either increases our product value (accretive actions) or decreases our product value (decretive actions). The more accretive actions we have, the better our brand and the more our “product” is worth. I’m not talking about actively marketing yourself all the time (and we all know of people who do that), but I am talking about creating positive impressions each time you interact with anyone in the workplace. Positive impressions can come in many ways. Here is a list of accretive actions that are helpful in increasing your product value and create a lasting positive image.
Ethical Behavior – This one goes without saying, but there are things you can do in this area to reinforce this behavior and increase your brand. Always taking the high-road and always pushing to do the “right thing” is a great way to reinforce this trait in your product.
Deliver Results – Delivering results consistently is one of the best things you can do to increase the value of your product. Leaders want to hire consistent and predictable performers.
Positive Attitude – Having a positive attitude is another great way to improve your brand. Don’t confuse this as having an eternal “bubbly” personality as this can be viewed negatively as well. What I’m recommending is that you should smile more often, greet people in a meeting and consistently contribute in a positive, constructive way. Don’t have a sour attitude.
Body Language – We often overlook our body language and how others view us during the day. Our body language projects our attitude without saying a word. I have often seen people in a meeting with their arms crossed, silent, a frown on their face and seeing disinterested in the subject or the meeting. On the other hand, I have seen people leaning forward, taking notes, asking questions and being highly interested in the topic at hand. Which one best describes your body language? Don’t be the one who is texting, doing email and not participating in a meeting, especially when on the phone.
Punctuality – If you are late to meetings, then there will always be questions about your ability to meet deadlines. Being occasionally late is fine, but if it is a matter of habit then your time management will come into question. Leaders want to hire people they can depend on day-in and day-out.
Engaging Contributor – Engagement is one of the qualities I always looked for. Being engaged in meetings, initiatives and daily work is really important to your brand. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen people distracted in meetings, texting, doing email or putting together their presentations while a meeting is taking place.
Helping Others – Being helpful to others in the group is a great quality and is something that can really help build your brand and reputation.
It is equally important to avoid decretive actions. These negative impressions wipe out months and years of positive impressions. I call these “unforced errors” as they are highly controllable and can be avoided.
Validating our brand from time-to-time is very important as well. Having a great coach is one good way to do this. Obtaining feedback from superiors, peers and team members vis-a-vis a third-party is a great way to validate what people think of you.
If you want to increase the value of your product, take the high road, deliver results consistently, always have a positive attitude, mind your body language, be dependable, maintain a high level of engagement and help others when you can. I realize all of these are hard to do, but maximizing accretive actions and minimizing decretive actions will, in the end, produce a great brand.
I hope this article was beneficial to you. Drop me a note below with your thoughts and questions.
Have a great day, and don’t forget to make a positive impression today and every day!
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