Build Your Brand (Part 2)
Iconoclast, Castrati, or Sage...
by Anthony Kaul

It is likely that your current brand is well established within your network. The question is, have you been labeled as an Iconoclast, a Castrati or a Sage...

Iconoclasts are branded as always attacking cherished beliefs within an organization, they are generally intellectually frustrated with their colleagues, and they are convinced that they could be doing a much better job than the boss. Castrati are named after the 17th century practice of producing alto and soprano choir boys by cutting off their... well you know. The boss keeps these folks around because they like the way they sing, and the songs are always agreeable. Finally you could be a Sage, known for your profound wisdom and balance. This balance and wisdom is what your company is looking for, it is what your boss wishes they had more of, and it is the surest way to corporate success.

Think about your past corporate life, does this sound even remotely familiar: You wonder at how your boss, and your bosses boss got to where they are? You are qualified on paper for a more senior position, but you seem to be held back by some invisible hand of misery. You are good at pandering to your boss and you do not actively share your negative thoughts with anyone in the company, except perhaps with the most valued members of your team. You may have let your irritation show on occasion but you are a hard working and an overachieving producer. You are an Iconoclast. What' s more, everyone knows it, you are bright, talented, and resourceful but you are a loose cannon on deck. Very few Iconoclasts climb the corporate ladder to the highest rungs, you may fancy yourself a modern day corporate Nietzsche or Galileo, but lets not forget what happened to Galileo...

Perhaps the above doesn't sound like you, in fact, you are the complete opposite, you are always supportive of the company, the boss, and the bosses boss. Even when you think that something is wrong, you keep your mouth shut and consider yourself extremely loyal to the company. You have seen that sometimes in corporate life the messenger gets killed and you know that the safest way to keep your job is to keep your head down. You are a Castrati. You are valuable to your boss because you always support their position, and agree with them. They do not have to worry or think about you. So they do not think of you, ever, especially at promotion time. People perceive that you lack the strength to stand up and be counted, to input original thought, and to take calculated risks.

We have all met the Sage, well respected, well liked, balanced, even keeled, and discrete. This is the brand you want to build. Its not that the Sage doesn't lament the times when he has had to do menial things for mediocre bosses, he just understands that this is part of the climb. What separates the Sage most is patience. The Sage is not afraid of conflict or all out war, but she chooses her battles wisely. Because of this balance, when the Sage speaks people listen.

You can become a Sage, or build on your current brand as a Sage by systematically displaying the outward behavior of a Sage, and holding your cards a little closer to your chest. Next week we will talk about the personality traits that have the most impact to our personal brands.

All journeys need a starting point, so ascertain whether you are an Iconoclast, Castrati or a Sage and you are far ahead at determining your own corporate identity.

Link to Third Part: Personality traits that build great brands...

(Part 1) (Part 4) (Part 5) (Part 6)



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