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Managing Brand YOU: Seven Steps to Creating Your Most Successful Self by Ira Blumenthal, Jerry S. Wilson

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CHAPTER 6
I CAN BUILD MY OWN PERSONAL
ROADMAP ON MY OWN TERMS
STEP 6: ESTABLISH YOUR
BRAND YOU STRATEGIES
“Success is no exclusive club. It is open to each individual who
has the courage to choose his own goal and go after it. It is from
this forward motion that human growth springs, and out of it
comes the human essence known as character.
—HOWARD WHITMAN
THE WORD STRATEGY IS overused and misused; it crops
up in so many situations to describe so many kinds of actions that
it has lost all meaning. Executive after executive has pushed aside
papers, presentations, and plans prepared by employees, claiming
they were not “strategic” or were too “tactical,” or that the presenters
were confusing strategy with objectives. What exactly is a strategy? Suf-
177
fer no more confusion. For our purposes, strategy is simply the an-
swers to the following questions:
How do you accomplish your goals?
What options are available to achieve your objectives?
How do you eliminate any barriers to achieving your
goals?
How do you leverage your strengths to achieve your new
positioning and aspirations?
What are your choices to attain your desired positioning?
How do you turn dreams into reality?
How do you achieve our targeted results?
The late Peter Drucker, management guru, defined strategy as “the
science and art of using all the forces available to you to effectively
execute your plan and accomplish your well thought out goals.
That is, strategy is the science and art of using all the forces avail-
able to you to execute your plan and accomplish your goals.
Perhaps an example is the best way to define the term. Let’s say
that a friend asks you to develop a strategy for getting him from
Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles, California. On the surface, this
seems simple. Your answer might be found by searching online for
flight schedules and airline deals. Once you’ve found your friend a
great airfare and some good alternative flights, you then suggest
that he take a cab to Reagan National Airport, then catch the
flight to LAX and have him pay for the ticket with his credit card.
After all, this strategy will accomplish what your friend has re-
quested—or will it?
With no discussion of your friend’s goal, your suggestion is
merely a good guess. To truly provide your friend with a workable
strategy, you need to know a bit more about his objectives—then
Managing Brand YOU
178
I Can Build My Own Personal Roadmap on My Own Terms
you would be in a better position to recommend the optimal strat-
egy. For instance, what if your friend wanted to fly only an Amer-
ican airline? What if he was interested only in flying first class?
Suppose he was staying closer to Dulles International Airport?
What if he could only make the last flight out in the evening? And
the what-if questions go on, making a very important point here.
Strategy is developed only after specific objectives and goals have
been defined. Strategy also takes into consideration available re-
sources (i.e., what if your friend had only $500 to spend on his
trip?) and realistic aspirations.
Now, let’s reconsider this recommendation. You try to better
understand his goal and receive this picture of success:
“Well,” your friend responds, “I have always wanted to see Amer-
ica, and I thought a cross-country tour from our nation’s capital to
southern California would be just the ticket. You see, time is really
no object, as I have a month to make the journey. My car is in tip-
top shape, and I am looking forward to seeing some of the great
sights of our country. I would like to stay in some small bed-and-
breakfast inns along the way as well. I also want to combine big-city
tours with visits to a few national parks. This is a trip I have
dreamed of for many years, so I want a clear itinerary yet be nimble
enough to take in special opportunities along the way. As long as I
am back here within 30 days, I am pretty much open to any ideas
you have for me to enjoy this great country. And so, my good
friend, what is your suggested strategy for me to accomplish this?”
Obviously, an airplane trip will not accomplish this goal. You re-
alize that your friend has multiple options for accomplishing his vi-
sion of this “American Dream Vacation Tour.” You now begin to
uncover some potential barriers to this clear goal. First, there are
so many places to visit that it is almost impossible to know which
are the best for your friend.
179

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