Last week a comment by Jason Alba on my post "Combining, I love it" triggered this new post. Recently I've been reading two books at the same time - and that's part 1 of the combination bit of the title. One book I've finished now, the other I'm still 'working' on.
In April Kent Blumberg wrote a review on Go put your strengths to work by Marcus Buckingham. I'd read two other publications by the Gallup Organisation already ("First, break all the rules" and "Now, discover your strengths" - the last one resulted in starting the Stop/Start blog) and since I recently released myself of my very strict new business book diet I'd ordered this book (and two others) beginning this month. And I'm glad I did. And I'm glad I'd ordered that combination of books (although, the third is still in its wrapping).
The other book had been recommended by Jason: "Brag! The Art of Tooting your own Horn without Blowing it" by Peggy Klaus (and I'm still 'working' on that one, using the JibberJobber career tool to 'assist' me with it).
And to be honest, what's the chance of finding these two books together? One is about your strengths - talents, the activities - as employee - you love doing and you are good at; the other is about personal branding.
The one enhances the other, the other gives more and better meaning to the one - that's my opinion anyway after reading them both at the same time. In his review on the book Kent suggest 4 steps you can take to test the power of a strengths-based mindset for your life, I want to add another in-between step to his list: when you reach the week 2 assignment, start reading the Brag! book. (I did, by 'accident')
In order to 'properly' brag - read Peggy's book, it is filled with why, how and when tips - you need to know your strengths, so you can effectively brag about those activities you want to do more of, not?
And vice-versa: in order to 'put your strengths to work for you' - read Marcus' book, it's a 6 week plan to find, clarify and confirm those 'gut' activities playing to your strengths - you need to know how to 'toot your own horn without blowing it' in order to convince not only your team-workers and manager but also yourself which activities/tasks/jobs you really should be spending most of your time on.
Ultimately it also brings me back (again) to my first and most important foundation block of any business: "Good to Great" by Jim Collins and Co, specially the Hedge-hog concept: keep doing what you do best.
Because if you don't know as company what your strengths are (hedge-hog concept), and if you don't know how to play to those strengths constantly how on earth can you make clear (brag!) to your customers/clients/patrons/buyers what makes it worth buying from you, staying with you, even tooting your horn as ambassadors?
Bragging (branding) about yourself, your personal strengths or about your company, your company's strengths starts with finding, discovering these strengths - talents, putting them to work in everything you do and making sure those strengths are what is best known about you.
What has all this got to do with the project I landed at the end of last week? Everything ;-)
Read more about that in my next post (otherwise this combination post is turning in a whole rambling epistle)