Sunday, January 22, 2012

Aspiring Leaders: Define Your Purpose and Build A Strong Personal Brand

Selena Rezvani wrote an interesting book entitled, The Next Generation of Women Leaders, What You Need to Lead but Won’t Learn in Business School. While the book targets women, there are some important lessons within the book that resonate with all aspiring leaders, male or female.

While it's important to discover and define one’s purpose, an aspiring leader must hold onto his or her core beliefs and spirit. A successful example is Maxine Clark, the CEO (or Chief Executive Bear in company-speak) of Build-A-Bear (follow on Twitter). Clark saw an opportunity in 1997 and founded the company. Today, there are more than 400 stores worldwide as a result of her idea of building personalized stuffed animals.

In order to define one’s purpose, Rezvani suggested that the following questions will help:
  • If you had unlimited power, how would you use it?
  • What did you love doing as a child?
  • What do you love doing in your spare time?
  • When do people ask you for help?
  • What is the single biggest barrier preventing you from leading?
  • How would your professional biography read if you had the perfect career?
  • When you get compliments at work, which ones are the most satisfying?
  • Is there a job you love so much that you would do it for free?
  • What work activities have you engaged in where time seems to fly?
  • If you were on the cover of TIME magazine, what would the cover caption say?

According to Rezvani, building a personal brand is also critical for all leaders. As a brand marketing professional, I totally agree and assist others to promote their strengths and build their personal brands. In the words of Tom Peters, “Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in…our most important job is to be the head marketer for the brand called You.”

If you want to be inspired and gain some useful leadership tips, check out Rezvani’s book on her website and follow on Twitter.

Click here to read a previous blog post entitled, “Who do you represent: your company or your individual brand?

Click here to read Tom Peters’ article in Fast Company that, while written in 1997, is just as timely today entitled, “The Brand Called You.”


  1. nice post. the aim of the workforce development program empowers working women to achieve their full potential and partners with employers to build successful workplaces through education, research, knowledge and policy.

  2. Debbie: An excellent breakdown of isolating, identifying and strengthening the brand elements that are there but need to be developed and polished.
    A tool I have used to get at this is a client survey. Some companies have a system of client feedback on a very routine basis. Thank you.


Thank you for your comment!