The 4Ps of Creating Your Personal Brand

Every one wants to be popular, to be known, to be remembered, to be wanted, to be liked, to be known by a personal brand--the values represented by his/her special traits.

In a presentation on creating your own brand, William Chin talks of the three important things to be followed:

  • Make every task an opportunity
  • Make every assignment a project
  • Make it 'Wow' - even the worst job no one wants to do.

If you want to establish personal branding for yourself, get motivated by his words. After pondering over this for some time, I discovered a set of "4 Ps" which, if you follow diligently, could really lead you to a "wow moment," the moment you will remember forever and, others will remember you for as well. All you have to remember is the four Ps which you need to also ardently practice.

The four Ps are: Perfection, Passion, Proactivity and Perseverance.

In this article, I will examine these four Ps in the context of my own achievements in my career.

1. Perfection: I started my career as a stenographer. Though I learned shorthand on my own, and practiced typing with just three fingers of both hands (my small finger refused to oblige me, being too weak to tap the keys of typewriter) I always aimed for perfection.

To add to my own intentions and care, I had a demanding boss who believed in perfection to the core. For him, every comma, every full stop, every hyphen, every exclamation mark, every title of the person (Sir, Professor, Dr. and so on) did matter most and he was a stickler in terms of these small things. Working with him only helped me in my quest for perfection. Everyone will agree that a neatly typed letter or note with a perfect layout is a delight to the eyes. No wonder this boss picked me up to support him as his personal staff (PA to Director of a research institute, Private Secretary to Secretary to the Government of India and Staff Officer to Secretary to the Government of India, Staff Officer to Member Planning Commission - by no means easy tasks).

Passion: One must have passion for what one does. Passion is wanting to do the work and getting attached to it, committed to it and deriving pleasure from it. The passion you show towards your work will make you feel great, hoever small the job is.

I can only recall in this context what Robin Sharma says in his book The Leader Who had No Title. He talks of an attendant in a bookstore and a housekeeping maid in a restaurant as being leaders, simply because of the passion they show towards their work. In his words, they are really leaders with no title. And, to quote William Chin, they are able to find the thrill and "create the 'wow'," even in their most dreaded chore!

Coming to the worst job, when I was posted as an Under Secretary to the Government of India, I was assigned work relating to Parliament, something people find dull, boring and nothing great. With my own passion for this work, I made this work very lively and enjoyable - I was invariably taken, along with the Joint Secretary, for the Secretary's briefing with the Minister. On one such occasion, when the Minister asked the Secretary for more details relating to a starred question, I could help the Secretary by saying that I had the relevant material for that. The Minister (Mr. Shivraj Patil) was really pleased.

3. Proactivity: One need not always limit his or her work within the defined boundaries of his responsibilities. There are many occasions while carrying out your assigned work, where you can cross the boundaries and do something on your own. Sometimes you can even initiate something new on your own, without having to wait for someone to tell you. All you need is the initiative through which you can expand your horizon. As an example, while I was working with Prof. Menon, when he was Chairman of the Science Advisory Committee to the Cabinet, I took the initiative to attend meetings of this high level policy making body in S&T. Normally, I am not supposed to attend these meetings. But the sheer initiative of mine could benefit me in terms of acquiring more knowledge in a different field, could contribute while correcting the draft minutes, and could write some articles on Science and Technology etc. All of these were appreciated on the one hand, and on the other, gave me immense job satisfaction and I felt thrilled too. It was this experience which enabled me to land on a job later in the Science Advisory Council to Prime Minister.

4. Perseverance: Not all great accomplishments have been achieved without struggle, patience and perseverance. Even the greatest leaders have embraced failures before their ambitions could come to fruition. Rome was not built in a day. All this shows that you must be steadfast, stick to your goals, not be perturbed by obstructions and failures in your path to achieve your goals and carry with you patience, perseverance and persistence. Then, success can surely be achieved.

An example, in my case, was my persistent effort for nearly over two years in getting a book published (with a foreword from Mr. N. Vittal) - a compilation of my various articles on HR related topics, which finally paid off. I could then feel excited having created that 'WOW' moment. Some great achievement for an ordinary person! Similar was my feeling when I was selected as OSD in the Science Advisory Council to Prime Minister, whose members - all eminent scientists, were full of praise for whatever little I could do in making them function smoothly.
I could also claim that throughout my career, I had somehow created a demand for me.

Throughout my career, I was referred to as "CVS" - by all my friends, colleagues, and even bosses. I had written a piece 'What is In a Name', and therein I talked about how my name shrunk to a three letter initials of my name. Another wow moment was when I sent this piece to Mr., Vittal. Not only did he like it but he also commented, "Shall I say, you will make a name for yourself."

I feel, in all my humbleness, that I have been able to create a brand for myself - the "CVS Brand" through using the "Four Ps". By following these simple principles, you can establish your personal career brand for yourself or your organziation.