Don’t Believe Your Hype

Seems like everyone today is building a brand, just the other day I started and you can’t believe how it’s changed my life – now I have to work on the weekends!   I think we in HR tend to have a lot to do with this employee-personal-branding thingy we have going on over the past couple of years.  In fact, I really think much of this got started when we started down this path of succession planning and performance management and began labeling employees things like “A Player”, “Key Contributer”, “Rock Star”, etc.   Before all these cute little labels came out (well, I guess their cute if you’re on the top side of those labels, I’m not sure you think their cute if your company has labeled you “Bottom Feeder” or “No-Po”) it was usually a conversation about meeting or exceeding performance, or needs improvement, etc.   Nobody was out building their brand under “Exceeds Performance”.

That was so 2005 – now every HR shop has to have their own creative labels  – and in the end all this has created is a bunch of employees who beginning to believe all this hype we keep piling on top to them.  Jeff Schmidt at Business Week had an article recently on the 12 signs you’ve started to buy into your press clippings as an employee. They are:

1. You Dismiss Questions (“Take My Word for it…” – you know that guy in the meeting – he doesn’t need to show you proof, he’s an “A” player)

2. You feel there’s no need for change. (A yeah, I created this beast – it doesn’t get any better!)

3. You quit asking questions. (Remember when you started out and you asked questions constantly – well, yeah, now you know everything, so you don’t need to do that.)

4. You dont’ reach out. (I mean what’s the point – so I can listen to someone elses lame ideas.)

5. You fall into a routine. (Look the executives know I’ll deliver, and they know I don’t work on Friday afternoons)

6. You look down at your peers. (Once you’re here – you might as well pack it in – and become a consultant.)

7. You lack self-awareness. (Like right now, while reading this, you don’t realize this is you! Some very talented high performing employees have this as their biggest career derailer.)

8. You quit pushing yourself. (I mean like what’s the use, these trolls I work with do half a what I do on their best day.)

9. You grow sloppy. (When small errors or mistakes start to creep into your work, and you deflect, you’re losing your focus.)

10.  You focus more on producing hype, then producing. (When you start to worry about who is going to see this project, instead of how this project will impact our organizaiton – you’re in trouble.)

11. You fixate on status. (Remember what use to keep you up at night, now it’s how to knock down someone else to get into that corner office.)

12. You become dismayed when something’s amiss. (When something goes wrong you can’t believe it, you’re speechless, you dont know what to do – the old you would have had an answer.)

Building brand is one thing – but once that brand is only a brand without substance, well you’ve reached a point of no return.  In the end performers will always prevail over the perso

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