Time to Reinvent Yourself as a Business Professional?
Written by: Dr. R. Kay Green
Have you met your strategic goals for 2012? 2011? 2010? Have you experienced Recession, Bankruptcy, or Downsizing? With the end of 2012 rapidly approaching, planning personal and professional goals for 2013 has become a priority for people in business and entrepreneurship. The fourth quarter of the year is the best time to reflect on the progress of your career or business; in planning for professional and personal goals for 2013, honesty is key.
The takeaway? When your strategies aren’t working, the goal must be to figure out something new. This may be the time to reinvent yourself for the upcoming year. When you reinvent, you have reached a point when repositioning and re-strategizing haven’t worked and it’s time to create a new version of yourself. This is the point when the artist throws out the original canvas and starts again on a new canvas.
Reinventing yourself is when you come to realize that the person you are, the career you are in, or the business you lead, no longer fits with your future. These are the times when you must reassess who you are and what you are doing, come to terms with the things that aren’t working, and completely reinvent.
If you reach the point where you feel you must reinvent yourself or your business, consider these three key strategies:
- Start with a clean slate.
Trying to hold onto certain strategies that may have worked for you in the past is the surest way to prevent a reinvention. Avoid the tendency to want to drift back into previous strategies. Create a new you. Start off with the mindset that the old you doesn’t exist anymore. Imagine yourself as a student fresh out of college. Remember the way you felt back then? You were a clean slate and a world of possibility stood before you. That’s how you should think of yourself now. Nothing you have done to this point happened or matters. All that matters is what you will do with the new you.
- Decide what you want to be.
Remember, that thing you want to be can’t be the same as it once was. You’re a new you. This is a tough reality to grasp because most of us spend so many years dreaming about achieving that one given thing. When it doesn’t work out, it’s tough to let go of the old dream. But here, we’re coming up with a new you, and that new you must do some soul-searching to determine what the best new path might be.
What are the honest strengths you bring to the table? Consider shaping your strengths into a branding approach that you admire. What are the brands you value most? Is there anything about you that matches up with that brand?
- Get out and take action.
With most things in life, the first step is always the toughest. When you reinvent, that first step tends to be even tougher. You are, after all, dispelling everything you’ve ever done to this point and doing something completely different. That can be scary. Terrifying even. But don’t let your fear cause you to drag your feet. Don’t stall. Don’t wait. Get out there and take action!
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The important thing to remember is that you’re not the first person to reinvent yourself. Keep that in mind when it comes time to go back to the drawing board and you will be in better position to make the honest, accurate, and appropriate decisions that will lead to greater success in the future.
Dr. R. Kay Green is CEO/President of RKG Marketing Solutions, a professor of marketing and author of the new book, I’ve Been Called the B* Word… Now What Do I Do? 13 Rules for the New-Age Professional Woman; see www.ivebeencalledthebword.com,barnesandnoble.com and amazon.com.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.