No matter what you do for a living, being fresh and interesting is critical to continued success. It keeps you top-of-mind for opportunities and improves the equity of your personal brand. In my case, as an author and professional speaker, I need to reinvent myself every so often to remain relevant. For those of you who own a business, hold a leadership position or perform freelance services – having a plan for periodic reinvention is critical.
Over the last few months, I’ve managed a project dubbed “Innovation Refresh.” All of the efforts culminated in a new website (check it out) that brings all the work to market. It’s a process I go through every five to seven years. In this newsletter, I’ll share my reinvention strategy, and invite you to apply this to your business life as well.
As times change, how you create value needs to adapt. Do you have an expertise that differentiates you? If so, is that expertise still current or in-demand? These questions will help you understand what you need to add to your repertoire to remain relevant. In my situation, I’d carved out a value proposition of being an expert on relationship building at work. As part of my ongoing development program, I started to branch out to the field of collaboration, and how it drives innovation and rapid problem solving.
After four years of intense focus and client work, I pivoted to collaboration as my key area of focus. One of the reasons I put it front and center is that I’d discovered that my markets were looking for solutions in the innovation area much more than the relationship building area. So I moved to that lane.
It’s important that your image stays current so as to signal to the world that you are still in business and you are aware of the trends of the day. It starts with your image. Whether it’s your LinkedIn profile picture or your photo on your company’s website, we need to see how you look today – not several years ago. In the last few years, I’ve aged a little, changed up my hair style and I wear different styles of clothes. I hired a local photographer to capture the current me and updated all my online profiles and website using these new photos.
Beyond your public-appearance, think about how the fonts and designs you select also convey your image. Is your business card still in comic sans font? Does your website look like it was designed ten years ago, when slideware was still the rage? I’m thankful that my design partner Loudbaby thought through all of this as they worked up a new logo, website design and font/color wheel that I’ll use for all my business collateral moving forward.
The people you spend time with have a big impact on your perspective, your expertise and how you interact with the world. If you continue to spend time with the same group of people over the years, you can’t help but grow stale. I’m not saying to dump your current friends, but instead, expand your network to include fresh ideas and points of view. I’ve reconnected with innovation expert Josh Linker, joined two blockchain startups as advisors and kindled a relationship with mortgage industry superstar Jeremy Forcier.
I’ve also moved my knowledge network over to new sources such as research heavy Harvard Business Review, a well curated mastermind group for my industry on facebook and a trade association that specializes in facilitation/collaboration. As you change where you get your insights, you will also morph into an updated version of yourself – and that will feed how you reinvent your value proposition or image.
If you’ve recently gone through a reinvention program, I’d love to hear from you about how you’ve approached it and what it’s meant to your professional life. I’m looking for examples and am all eyes for your stories and would love to hear from you. Either reply to this email or visit my Contact page.