July 23

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How personal branding made me a better cybersecurity leader

By Client Services

July 23, 2020


Moving into a new leadership role can be your opportunity to make a significant impact both in terms of your team’s performance and in the strength of your organisation’s security. However, assuming your title will be enough to enable this would be foolish. Your title, in today’s competitive cybersecurity workforce offers you very little. The only way you’re going to make the impact you need is by creating and implementing effective strategic actions. And that means inspiring, empowering, managing and equipping those you lead. It means creating psychological safety or what I call 'high challenge-high support' in your environment. It means attracting and pulling those you interact with naturally, rather than by control and force.

Now, there are many ways you can do this, but in my experience the best way is by raising your profile and building an effective personal brand both online and offline. Investing in your personal brand displays who you and what you stand for as a leader. It attracts people to you who believe in your unique message and take on things. And, it sends a very clear message to those you lead and want to lead, as well as to other stakeholders within your organisation, who you’ll need to engage with and obtain buy-in from at some point.

If you don’t have a clearly defined personal brand, then your ability to lead successfully will be impacted. Your ability to attract new team members and move projects past obstacles will take longer. And all because those around you won’t quite know what to make of you, or why you’re doing what you’re doing, or why you’re asking them to do what you want them to do.

Your personal brand is like your signature or methodology. It tells a story of who you are, how you operate, and is a living, evolving representation of you. It indicates the best you have to offer and what can be expected of you in terms of your achievements, contributions, and value - whether that’s to your next employer, new hire, event organiser, journalist, client and so on. It communicates your career reputation, commitment and promise. And, in today’s hyper-connected world it will always precede you.

Very basically, your personal brand is a combination of the way you represent yourself and the way you are represented in person, online, and in print. It’s about the message and content you put out across all online platforms and what’s produced about you, for example through interviews, online posts, or word-of-mouth. And, whilst the way you build your personal brand and use it is entirely up to you, choosing not to invest in it is unwise. You see, your personal brand is actually being built by others right now. Correctly or incorrectly, they're deciding what your take on things is. So, being able to have a say in this – and to a certain extent influence it - is rather important!

Your personal brand is powerful and it works for you 24x7.

Having built a strong personal brand and having taught CISOs, entrepreneurs and women-only groups how to do this, I’ve personally seen the the impact it can have on them and the people with whom they interact. I've seen how the value of having someone who's done it and is still doing it from the same industry helps. I've seen it grow existing cybersecurity business. One new startup told me how just one method I taught him attracted £75,000 of new business from three different clients in a week. Another told me how it helped her pivot to a new job and move into a CIO role. Others have told me how it's opened opportunities for them to share their ideas at conferences, on podcasts, blogs, books, or in magazines. Or, to foster new valuable relationships with other leaders, or to have time to really think about what they want from life or their next career move.

The way I teach personal branding isn't just a way for you to brag, create a name for yourself or get eyes on your brand. I don't enable you to create an asset because of what you know either. I help you design a personal brand that becomes valuable because of how you know what you know, and how you share it. It's your message. It's your gift.

Now I want to hear from you…

  • Tell me, how you're going to use a personal brand to meet your goals. Or, if you're already doing so, the benefits it's brought.

In my next blog, I’ll be examining personal branding in more detail. Until then, if you want to get started with creating a personal brand and learn how to better position yourself so you can build trust and influence within your organisation, get my latest workbook. It's detailed, comprehensive for those in cyber and as it gives you a step-by-step way it's getting rave reviews.

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