When you were born, you brought to the earth with you an innate package of potential.
That package of potential was either discovered and developed or not discovered and remained unknown or undeveloped up to now. (By the way, the process of uncovering talent and potential has no “statue of limitation”. You can keep discovering your talent until your final dirt nap!) You, the person, are a producer— the manufacturer, the point of origin, the originator of what you used your talent, gifts and skills to make. A graphic artist used talent and skill to produce the original concept of the logo at left, for example. Your talents, gifts and skills remain with you wherever you go, can be used for whatever purpose you put them and cannot be taken away from you by another human being’s whim. The point is to make sure your talent package is not mismanaged by any other person not even by you.
You are not the product. You are its creator. You could, in fact, produce many products. That product could be simply the experience of being associated with you (if you’re famous like Paris Hilton or Elizabeth Taylor). That product could be a painting; a book manuscript; a song; a white paper; a glass brick; the text of the President of the United State’s speech, or the best sandwich ever…
You use the talent you found and developed to make a unique contribution because, at its core, the purpose of living is giving. You are a corporation of one, You, Inc. Your reputation in the marketplace is built on others’ opinion of their experience with using your product-produce-fruit. For example: a person can use the natural gift package of innate talents and developed skills that will make an executive’s work more effective. All admins do that. But You, Inc. are the only one who does it exactly the way You do it.
Exactly the way you originate your product has to do with things like temperament, personality, beliefs, life experience, fears, shortcomings, strengths, education, skill level, and work experience. Do you see how each admin could produce the same work but not the same way? One could do it fast; one could do it and always present it in a folder; one could hand it to the boss personally; one could be so obsessive that it seldom gets in on time; one could make sure it is presented flat and clean; one could present it full of errors. Get the picture?
Your image is the public presentation which influences how you are perceived. For example: glitter is glitter is glitter, But Martha Stewart brand glitter stands out. The Martha Stewart Crafts packaging is created to present a certain image, intended to elicit a certain response to the product. A product could have a good image or a bad image. Sometimes something negative that happens to a manufacturer turns public opinion of that creator sour, which in turn damages its products’ images. Some companies recover from a hit to the corporation’ s good name as Martha Stewart Omnimedia recovered. On the other hand, some companies retain a lingering stain on their name the best effort could not remove. Review the Exxon-Mobil Corporation and the BP Corporation and their image challenges after negative events. Consider how bread placed too close to fish in the refrigerator absorbs fishy odor.
One very important thing: everything must sustain product image and uphold the brand name. Every piece of marketing material; every suit; every bit of body language must assist in building and maintaining a unified, positive image–not detract from it. If you ever walk into any location of my other address, Michael’s Craft Store, and observe anything on the shelves from the Martha Stewart Crafts product line, you will notice that the products have a certain “look”. This “image”, this “look” is carefully crafted to elicit a positive response toward the products.
Returning to the job hunter: CVs, work samples and other marketing materials, which often act as their creator’s “advance men”, talk about her “behind her back”–projecting her image. Physical appearance, speech, carriage, dress and manner work together to reinforce that image. Ignoring or neglecting any aspect of imaging could mean death for You, Inc., the company, and its products/services. Marketing strategy: everything will be done to keep and maintain a positive image.
For example: a tech genius could produce an inspired product, but present it so badly that the public gets the impression that the product must be low quality. The public then concludes the reason the product is bad is because its creator is sloppy. What happens next? An excellent product “looks bad” in the eyes of the marketplace and its producer is marked down as the “shoddy work” king. Mind you, none of the negative impressions were just, fair, deserved or even true! Friends, image matters. Image matters. Image matters.