by June 18, 2004

Continuing travels have taken me through David D’Alessandro’s Career Warfare: 10 rules for building a successful personal brand and fighting to keep it.

Though the idea of maintaining a personal brand is not new, D’Alessandro expounds on it from entry-level to “c”-level with numerous suggestions and rules. The basic premise mirrors good design principles: you don’t need complicated theories to succeed –you just have to listen and watch carefully.

“Most organizations are just vertical villages. More than anything else, your personal brand will determine whether you conquer the vertical village or are defeated by it.”

Some of D’Alessandro’s advice is worth taking to heart: hard work and accomplishments are necessary, but they probably will not set you apart from your peers; in order to build a good reputation, you have to view your actions in the same way that the people judging you will view them; your boss is the co-author of your brand -gain their trust and establish a pattern of fair exchange; you’ll have a much better brand if you are seen as someone who can move within the larger world of the corporation; develop a reputation as someone who is loyal to the organization; and more.

The bottom line is “you are always on”: be conscious of the potential implications of your actions at all times. This is especially important as the value of self-management and peer recognition further permeates traditional business hierarchies. Your personal brand may well be your most valuable asset.