Get off the Post Election Sidelines with a Personal-Professional Brand


How can going to an NFL game get me  thinking about the need for all professionals, business and educators, to make a promise to be at their best?

My mind works in very strange ways, but I'm not off-base (mixed baseball metaphor here). Being at the top of your game includes developing a personal-professional brand. I think business people have accepted that this isn't something just for the sales world anymore. This is about communication by all participants in business and beyond. It's a complex digital/social world-- a world where every morning's news from politics, to sports, to theater, to tech to Wall Street has some connection to brand.

As I've seen in my business brand life, educators can benefit by engagement with brand--they adapt it to their need. Educators must move into this mindset in 2017.  I was sparked to complete this post I started yesterday, thanks to @petermdewitt who posted, this morning, an important  "educator bystander piece" that is a must read for EDWeek about the need for educators to become strongly  committed-- to be active in telling their stories. As I was cooking on this blog post, he fired my attention with his call echoing Michael Fullan and Andy Hargreaves for the Need to Take it Back. NOW is the time. Brand awareness and adaptation for school is part of that call to take our power. We have seen the power of building a strong brand message and the way the world has changed since Nov. 8th that attests to brand communication value. Like it or not, a brand communicated powerfully in this election. And simply putting up roadblocks or ignoring or disparaging what we see won't advance educators. We must find the power of our voices in 2017.

Before attending the Eagles-Bengals NFL game last Sunday, I listened to a great partnership venture between EDWeek and George Washington University about the climate of the Post Election for educators, From the  3+ hours of amazing commentary by people like @larambrownPhD , I took a few connections for my work that furthers the mission of brand adaptation into the educator space. It is part of a rallying cry. The conference and the game experience, made me see the need to get people off the sidelines now. Defining themselves through action is a priority for education professionals. Educators try to make sense of a world of ESSA, Vouchers, Charters, SEA's, legislation, regulation, and managing through the breakneck speed of change in a post election environment. Your own first step into finding some control in this complex world of change can be in found by taking control and building a personal-professional brand that communicates and gets you in the game.

Why? Three reasons from my #EDelect16 reflection:

Times are Uncertain: As the result of my experience at the football games shows, times are uncertain. Who would have imagined my team would loose in Cinn? Take that to the world of politics where this also was my experience of Nov 8. In uncertain times, a reflective pause to understand who you are and what your mission is can be an audit that  reboots your mood, your resolve, and your energies.  Educators have a responsibility to brand. Add developing a personal-professional brand to your New Years Resolution list, but KEEP on track with it by setting small goals for defining yourself and sharing them with trusted "validators". Your personal-professional brand unifies your image. You don't have to have two personas: private and public. Choose what your core beliefs are and work from there. The "brand you" that you show at your kids soccer game is the one that you can display at your professional meetings and presentations that moves your school forward.

 You can't Go it Alone: In football, that's a given. Bring that team mentality to a shared leadership model by building your brand and then inviting others into the experience. In an article posed today by Aaron L Mudd @BGDN_edbeat , a bill introduced in KY would shift power from a more shared school district governing base back to a more centralized view and superintendents are split on this. I understand. Getting buy in and ownership is important in managing schools, and your brand as a leader can be strong and communicated powerfully in a shared model of stakeholder development. Take control of your relationships through a well defined personal-professional brand and you won't need centralized power...your relational brand modeled for a community will spark interest in building bridges to solutions, not simply taking charge.

Defining Brands Communicate: The NFL brands I saw on the field both need to work harder to deliver value. Brands deliver on a promise. Yet, even in bad times, as both teams on the field are having, the fact that a communicative brand can create bonding and a culture of hope can be a motivator to the faithful who will rally to your support.  Hey, I travelled from NYC to Cinn and back still loving my Birds. So even in challenging times, uncertain times, having a strong personal-professional leadership brand can help you communicate lasting value to the stakeholder, the customer, the client...whomever you are in a trusting exchange with in these transparent digital times.

So with the college playoffs settled....and don't get me started about Penn State...let's look to educators taking the field to tell their stories for creating continued school success. In uncertain times, build your team and define yourselves using Personal-Professional school brand power.