Thursday, December 14, 2006

The "IT" Factor

Some people have it, some people need to fabricate it. But what is it? We have all heard of the celebrity "it" girl.... we see politicians, authors, athletes and companies brand themselves and invest heavily in promoting those brands, so why don't we invest the same effort and energy in branding ourselves as business people? I know what you are thinking.... I am not an entrepreneur, I am an employee. What impact could personal branding have in the corporate world? Well, in the words of Tom Peter's himself "be distinct of be extinct!".

I believe there is enough risk of extinction in the corporate, assimilating world of work. Why not resist the numeric droid default position and take charge of marketing yourself smarter? The key words there are "take charge". That is really the first step which begins with knowing yourself, your strengths, how you relate and where you fit in your world of work. Know what you want to attain and where you want to go. These are critical self assessment questions to answer before designing your brand and marketing strategy.

Next step, building your brand and emphasizing your "IT" factor.

Want to learn more about marketing yourself smarter? Sign up for our February event on " Finding Your "IT" factor.

And, stay tuned for Marketing Yourself Smarter tips and strategies to be made available on our site early in the new year.

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Female Advantage: Impressions Count

Market Yourself Smarter hosted an exclusive and provocative event yesterday located at the swish Toronto Street Goodlife Fitness Club for Women location. The topic? First impressions and why they count. An interesting dialogue and debate ensued which inevitably delved into the male:female communication style discussion. Are women overly concerned about gaining the acceptance of their male counterparts? Are men or other women as judgemental and quick to stereotype as some women believe them to be? Should we care? Is it important? Are there things women could and should learn from the male communication style?

Well yes, it most certainly is evidenced by the room full of women eager to discuss the topic of making a good first impression. The fact of the matter is that we do care and we should care-- at least a little bit.

Whether physical or gender-based discrimination exists or not, the perception is that it does. And perception is reality. Companies are investing heavily in this very topic. Changing the mindset and bridging the gender gap in a corporation is an important effort and will payoff in acquisition and retention efforts and hopefully in encouraging more women into the executive suite.

What was agreed on by most was that women have a distinct Female Advantage that should be emphasized and leveraged. The female advantage pays off in sales meetings, board rooms, top and bottom line results.

Alana Free, Director of People Development at Goodlife Fitness did a terrific job at facilitating this heated discussion and shared with us a list of related books on the topic listed below.

Stay tuned for more cafe events where this one came from! What are your thoughts on the topic?

The Female Advantage, Women’s Ways of Leadership
By Sally Helgesen

First Impressions, What You Don’t Know About How Others See You
By Ann Demarais Ph.D, and Valerie White Ph.D

How To Talk So People Listen, Connecting In Today’s Workplace
By Sonya Hamlin

Happiness is a Choice
By Barry Neil Kaufman

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Announcing the Top 10 'Walk the Talkers' Finalists in Eastern and Western Canada

Congratulations to the Top 10 Employers in Western and Eastern Canada who made the in our first annual Top Employers Who Walk the Talk Survey done in concert with The Collin Baer Group. We have released the downloadable report from our survey available at .

Our 2006 Top 10 Finalists are:

Western Canada

#1 University College of the Fraser Valley
#2 Urban Systems
#3 Flight Centre Canada
#4 Pacific Western Brewing Company
#5 Schlumberger Canada Ltd
#6 Rocky Mountaineer Vacations
#7 Vancity
#8 The Ethical Funds Company/Credential Financial
#9 British Columbia Institute of Technology #10 TransCanada Pipelines Ltd.

Eastern Canada

#1 Export Development Canada
#2 Media Profile
#3 Cisco Systems Canada
#4 Bell Canada
#5 Accenture
#6 Career Builder
#7 ThinData
#8 GE Canada
#9 Scotia Bank Group #10 GoodLife Fitness Clubs

'Walking the Talk' simply describes what is on the minds of career people today. Although compensation is important, employees have other aspirational expectations of their employers which employees been expressed as:

-to follow through on promises
-to mean what you say and say what you mean
-to be a role model
-to set an example
-to act responsibly, fairly and honourably

As our Walk the Talk survey was conducted in a non-sponsored organic approach many of the employers were unaware that they had been nominated. This survey was a true pulse check on the employee mindset. Those companies that made the Top 10 in Eastern and Western Canada should be very proud.

Congratulations again and stay tuned for our 2007 survey.

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

What we can learn from Roger Waters

There are certain things that never go out of style. Rock and roll, great lyrics and social citizenship. Roger Waters used his concert last night at Air Canada as a platform to communicate a message about peacemaking and the importance of taking a stand as a global citizen.

How can we apply this to the corporate world? Being a good corporate citizen and walking the talk are two areas quickly rising to the top of employees' lists of what is important in the world of work. In order to attract and retain the best talent today corporations need to shake themselves out of comfortable numbness and re-frame their priorities when it comes to their role and ability to make a difference in the external world.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Give big. With your wallets and your time.

Come on all of you busy executives-- give of your time or from your wallets. Catharine Fennell was recently featured in the Toronto Star for her role in Chairing a Panel for the United Way's Allocations Committee. A well rounded career that involves your day job and contributing as a volunteer on a Board is a great way to market yourself smarter. For those interested in broadening their career horizons Catalyst has done a lot of research in the area of women and board participation.

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New moms. Keep your day job.

Long lives the debate on where a woman will seek the most control over their career. Initially, the lure of entrepreneurial life seems quite attractive but is it reducing or increasing work-life anxiety? Newsweek featured an article this week on the mom-preneur trend. Balance? I am not sure.

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Building your brand... employment style

There has been a lot written about the employment brand. You know, the special one that your employees or prospective employees see when they look into your company. Isn't it that the employment brand is THE brand. It is tough to differentiate an external-facing brand when you are appealing to the public. After all, your employees are often your customers too.

Maybe more to the point is that employers need to walk the talk in everything they do. They need to be upstanding citizens conducting themselves honourably both behind closed doors and out in the community. There is no longer any tolerance for incongruous 'brand' messages.

Take the recent Radio Shack fiasco reported in the Globe and Mail where 400 employees were given the e-boot in one foul swoop. I am thinking that this poor judgement call on the part of the ivory tower may have some cascading effects.

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Women: Still got something to prove?

Women as boss. Are we making progress or do we still suffer from a case of high school-aged insecurity, feeling like imposters in our executive offices. Are women supporting the advancement of women? We spend a lot of time educating the marketplace -- particularly the male gender-- on the importance of gender equality in the executive suite, yet women themselves can be the first to sabbotage other women's climb up the ladder.

Do women prefer to be led by men? In many conversations that I have on this topic-- and trust me, there have been many-- women secretly tell me that they prefer working for or with men. Or, in the entrepreneurial world, they prefer male clients.

What qualities do men bring to the workplace that make women more comfortable, or less threatened? Perhaps we can learn a thing or two from our male colleagues.

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Top Employer Buzz

What's in a top employer list if it doesn't come from the employee? I mean really from the employee. We just had the pleasure of running our first annual "Top Employer Who Walks the Talk" survey and were overwhelmed with the response-- both good and bad. You know you are hitting the right audience when you get such honest responses.

So what is the angle? To provide a trusted forum and voice for employees and to ultimately bridge the gap between employees and their employers. Being voted in by employees as a Top Employer Who Walks the Talk is possibly one of the highest compliments paid to a Canadian employer and one that should not be taken lightly.

Stay tuned for the results!

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