The Peril of “Blending In”

blending in

Several weeks ago, I read an interesting article posted on the website for CBS News. In his article “5 Behaviors That Can Get You Fired”, Dave Johnson listed common-sense reasons why people lose their jobs. His 5th reason caught my attention – and affirmed my evangelism of the importance of personal branding:

5. Be anonymous. In principle, you might think it’s a good idea to keep your head down and do the work you’re assigned. But most organizations actively try to grow their next generation of leaders from today’s individual contributors. In fact, many companies have an implicit “up or out” policy that requires employees to participate, collaborate, grow and advance. You need to be seen and heard.

What a resounding reminder about the importance of distinguishing yourself from your coworkers – and conveying (in word and deed) the value you bring to an organization! Johnson is right: anonymity is a proverbial death sentence in regards to career advancement and development. As I wrote in my series on personal branding, we all have personal brands – qualities about us that have caused others to form opinions about us. We need to be seen as leaders (and individual contributors) who:

  • Are highly recognizable – we’re not afraid to offer our expertise when the need arises
  • Inspire trust and loyalty from those who follow us
  • Are promises of value – we consistently deliver on promises made

So, just another gentle reminder to not blend in…and enhance your personal brand: develop your personal mission statement, cultivate your sales pitch, and consider your brand’s power. Remember to distinguish yourself from your cohorts by conveying a personal brand that attests to your exemplary skills…and always ensures a place for you on the organizational “radar”.


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