Dear Colleagues:

The subject of executive reputations is ripe year-round with much to be said. Executive reputations are vital to your successful leadership at the company where you work. Another reason for an executive to engage in developing their reputation is the simple reality that your reputation affects your career.

You will be a person of interest and respect by ensuring that those who make executive hiring decisions know the breadth and depth of your capabilities, see you as a leader, and believe you have the ability to tackle a new or difficult challenge.

Please share this issue with colleagues who may benefit from a reminder to take charge of their own reputations. Click here in case you missed the first installment of this special two-part Marketing Coach for the issue Executive Reputations: Lessons for Your Company.

All the best,
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Executive Reputations: Lessons for You
1. Define yourself

There are healthcare executives with medical degrees and others without them. Technology executives who are wonks and others who have never innovated or previously utilized the technology they oversee.

We have all observed executives who move from company to company despite their association with repeated failures. Some people continually receive promotions and bigger bonuses while others struggle to land another leadership opportunity.

Create your own reputation platform. Rather than allowing circumstances and former colleagues to label you in the competitive arena, you need to define your short-term and longer-term professional goals and map out a strategy for achieving them. What do you want to accomplish? Be known for? It could be anything ranging from your functional skills, sector knowledge and geographic involvement to personality traits. Give some thought to how you want targeted others to know you. Then, determine what you can do to anticipate your next move.

2. Don't let one company/workplace define you

So you worked at Enron, did you? Spent your entire career at AIG? Perhaps you devoted your career (thus far) to shipping, telecommunications, at a film production studio or a hospital. With a new corporate strategy or with your arrival to the "c" suite you need to collaborate with others outside of your field to get things done. Or perhaps, you're ready for a career change.

You can establish the leadership profile and expertise necessary to build your reputation as a leader with whom others want to associate.

Many become so immersed in their daily business that they don't find time (or feel it's important enough) to become involved in the professional community or civic arena beyond their offices. For many, that turns out to be shortsighted. The relationships, experiences and reputations built through serving on boards and taking on industry or community challenges with peers from other industries is a big part of building a network, track record and image as someone who grasps complex issues, is trustworthy and makes things happen.

3. Your reputation affects your next job,
your bonus, your retirement

Is this self-explanatory? Did you get a big bonus or were you passed over for a job from a great company? What if you want to jump into a new sector? When that opportunity arises, will you be considered a serious candidate?

What if your company needed permits or regulatory support? If you aren't seen as credible and appropriately engaged, your company (and you) may be out of luck.

What do your "c" level colleagues know about you and your career? Is it possible that you may be pigeonholed based on a particular visible accomplishment or the company and sector that you currently work in? Does your board have consensus that its executives will retire at 65 when you plan to have your career on an upward trajectory? Do you have aspirations to lead a company in another industry? Perhaps you have an innovation that you'd like to launch as a new company?

Reputations are rarely built overnight, so you may want to create a strategy based on short-term goals that you can adapt as your longer term aspirations become clearer.

4. Be sure those who affect your company
and life plans are familiar with your reputation
(as you have guided it)

We all know what happens to those who ASSUME. If you have goals, then you develop the expertise and relationships needed to achieve them. Right? That's what you would demand of your company employees, isn't it? Well then, you've been engaged in managing your reputation all along. If you still have more to achieve, then you may have more work to do in this area.

The proof of what is possible when executives manage their reputations well is illustrated with these examples of sector leaders who made moves between industries, reinvented their functional roles and capitalized on, catapulted or put at risk their personal brands:
· Bill Gates made a career change from the world's chief executive technologist to its top philanthropist

· Vera Wang left her career as a competitive ice skater and transformed into a leading fashion designer

· Former Lehman lawyer Thomas Russo took over as general counsel at American International Group

· Former football running back Tiki Barber is a correspondent on The Today Show

· Stay at home mom Samantha Graziadio serves as Chief Common Sense Officer for Scott Tissue

· Al Franken went from comedy clubs to the United States Senate

· The jury is out as to what skill set and sector experience is ideal for running an American auto manufacturer with each of the "Big 3" CEOs traveling different corporate paths: Robert Nardelli went from GE to Home Deport to Chrysler, Alan Mullaly left Boeing to run Ford and Ed Whitacre brought his turnaround experience from AT&T to GM

Marketing Coach is a publication of Ivy Cohen Corporate Communications, Inc. ICCC helps companies
build reputations and differentiate in a competitive market. To find out how ICCC might help you and
your company build your reputation contact ivy@ivycohen.com, call 212-399-0026 or
visit www.ivycohen.com.