Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness
"To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities." – Bruce Lee
Motivation is a key to making things happen, whether you’re developing software, leading teams, or just getting yourself out of bed and on with your day.
It's hard to change the world, or even just your world for that matter, if you lack the motivation or drive. In a world where there is plenty that can bring you down, the best thing you can do is arm yourself with motivation techniques that work, and motivation theories that explain *why* they work.
Motivation Techniques You can motivate yourself with skill, as well as others, if you know the key motivation techniques. Here is my latest collection of motivation techniques and methods at a glance:
You can use the motivation techniques to motivate yourself and others.
Motivation Theories There are a lot of motivation theories that are relevant, and some have evolved over the years. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is useful to know for understanding some basic drivers. It’s also useful to know David McClelland’s Theory of Needs , and that focuses on achievement, affiliation, and power as key drivers.
It’s also useful to distinguish between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. For example, if you depend on other people to carrot or stick you, you’re driving from extrinsic motivation. If instead, you’re doing something because it makes you feel alive or unleashes your passion or simply just for a job well done, then you’re driving from intrinsic motivation, and that is a powerful place to be.
It’s also useful to know that at the end of the day, purpose is the most powerful driver, and if you can connect what you do to your purpose, then you bring out your best and you’re a powerful force to be reckoned with. Purpose, passion, and persistence change the game.
Timeline of Motivation Theories, Studies, and Models Here is a timeline of some interesting work on the study of motivation:
Motivation Quotes If you need some inspiring words of wisdom, be sure to explore my collection of motivation quotes.
In the article, The Strategy Accelerator, Alfred Griffioen shares his thoughts on competitive monopoly and how the only way outperform your competitors is through differentiation.
“The question "how to be successful in the market" is among the most relevant for business economics, but only a few researchers and authors have formulated directive rather than descriptive answers. A better direction can be found in basic economy researchers: if you can differentiate yourself from the competitors, you have a sort of monopoly. In a monopoly you can choose your own price and quantity optimum on the demand curve. As soon as you encounter competitors, the power shifts to the customer: the price is set by the market and you can only follow. The only way outperform your competitors is through differentiation.”
I think Griffioen raises some good points and the best way to differentiate is by building a better brand for whoever you serve.
What are the best books to read on personal development, business, leadership, management, etc.?
How To Find the Best Books to Read That’s a tough question to answer because it’s about context, relevancy, and your particular situation. That said, maybe a better question is, how do you figure out the best books to read? The approach I've used is three-fold:
It's been many years, blood, sweat, and tears, of cultivating a library of the world's best insight and action for work and life. It's all part of the path. Part of my staying power is that it's a labor of love -- I have a passion for reading, and long ago, I learned to embrace continuous learning as a success strategy for life.
One thing I do need to say is that while it might seem like a long and winding road, books have always been my short-cut. They are self-paced and, as a fast reader, I can learn the information and apply it very quickly to get results.
Best Books to Read Here are some of my collections of best books to read:
Hopefully, this can help you find the books you've been looking for, or at least help you find new and interesting books to read that might help you in ways you didn’t expect. Hopefully, this also saves you a lot of time on your journey by providing a "book map" of useful books organized by key categories.
The landscape is always changing, so I'm always interested in hearing about books that I should read.
One of my mentors showed me a simple success pattern for achieving more at work, while gaining more credibility and freedom. It’s Filters and Priorities.
The method works by connecting your work to business priorities. He put the simple picture above as a way to illustrate the point.
Basically, management has a set of priorities they are focused on. Managers will also tend to have filters for how they look at the world. It’s the language they use and the trigger words they care about. It’s their map of reality. Your opportunity then is to figure out how your work connects to the priorities, using their filters.
When you focus on these meaningful intersections, and connect your work, you amplify success at multiple levels. Rather than pursuit disconnected ideas, you connect your ideas in a way that gains leverage. You also gain the power of focus. In addition, as you get these wins under your belt, and you gain credibility, it’s easier for management to trust you to go out on a limb, and start going after the wild cards, and testing your game changers.
At the worst case, at least you stay relevant. Relevancy is king in a demand-driven or pull-driven world.
Old school is “carrots and sticks.” New school is “inspired action.” I think of inspiration as, “to breathe life into.” Inspiration is powerful because it comes from within, and intrinsic motivation wins over extrinsic motivation in the long run.
I’ve put together an extensive collection of some of the most inspirational quotes of all time. In a patterns & practices sort of way, I drew from a lot of sources, including Buddha, Lao-Tzu, Emerson, Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Twain, Franklin, Churchill and more. Bruce Lee is in there too.
Use the inspirational quotes to help you roll with the punches, stand strong when tested, and bring out your best in whatever you do, whether it’s writing the code to change the world, leading projects to change the game, managing people to bring out their best, or simply giving your best where you’ve got your best to give.
It’s always interesting to see where people put their focus, as well as how their patterns show up. Here are some patterns of focus, which reveal how people show their values on the job:
… some focus on giving their best where they’ve got their best to give, finding their flow, lifting others up, and changing the game.
Of course, we’re all hybrids, but it’s interesting to see where some people dominate and drive from.
Knowing the patterns makes it easier to bridge and switch perspectives, spot problems, and uncork potential.
All paths lead to the same town.
I love it when dots finally connect, or when we have a name, or label, or vocabulary to express a concept that’s been around for a while, that people intuitively know from experience. It makes it easier to share with others that don’t. Here’s a bit of interesting research that might explain why agile practices can have a profound impact on creating powerful, highly effective learning organizations, and high-caliber execution machines.
In the article, Chris Argyris: Theories of Action, Double-Loop Learning and Organizational Learning, by infed, we learn about theories-in-action vs. espoused theory, and double-loop learning vs. single-loop learning.
Single-Loop Learning vs. Double-Loop Learning If learning involves the detection and correction of error, then Single-Loop learning is about finding and fixing problems within a set of governing variables. It simply looks to operationalize the values, goals, and plans. That’s not a game changer. Double-Loop Learning, on the other hands, looks to question the governing variables themselves. Here is an elaboration from the article:
Theories in Use vs. Espoused Theory Theories-in-use are what you actually use and do in practice. On the other hand, espoused theory is what you say you do, which may be completely different. Here is an elaboration:
Model I and Model II – Theories-in-Use Theories-in-Use can either enhance or inhibit double-loop learning. Model I inhibits. Model II enhances. Here’s a summary:
Model I – Theories-in-Use
The governing Values of Model I are:
Primary Strategies are:
Usually operationalized by:
The governing values of Model II include:
Consequences should include:
What’s interesting in the article is that most people "say” they use Model II, but that’s simply “espoused theory”.
Structuring your personal backlog of work you have to do, helps you in multiple ways:
The process for a simple backlog is pretty simple. Here are the keys:
The mental model for how you are structuring your backlog for each project is this:
Here is an example of a list for project X:
P1 ----------------- - Apples - Oranges (Orange you glad I didn’t say Banana) - Pears
P2 ---------------- - Kiwi - Lemons - Mangos - Pineapples .. etc.
Done --------------- - Blueberries - Cranberries - Grapes
By keeping your lists flat and functional, they are easy to update, easy to store, and easy to share. Whether you use OneNote, Excel, Workflowy, or EverNote, you have a list for each project, and each list has a simple map of the work to be done, at your finger tips.
As part of the Great Books to Read Collection, I put together a collection of the best books on Interpersonal Skills.
When it comes to building software, shipping stuff, or just plain making things happen, interpersonal skills are a key to success. With interpersonal skills, you can better deal with the following scenarios:
What makes these the best books on interpersonal skills? They are books you can use to solve real problems. They are ones that have made an actual difference for many people in tough scenarios. (Of course, best is all relative, so only you know which books are best for you, by testing what works for your specific scenarios.)
While there are so many books that are truly useful, there is one in particular that I know many people have found to be insanely useful. It’s the book, Dealing with People You Can’t Stand, by Dr. Rick Brinkman and Dr. Rick Kirschner. Here’s why … the book gives you a “lens of human understanding” that helps you see what drives people to act a certain way. Once you understand this, it’s like knowing how the magic trick was done … all is revealed. The other reason why people like this book so much is because it gives you a language for bad behaviors. Having a language for bad behaviors makes it easy to identify them, understand them, and deal with them, in an actionable way.
From the Archives 40 Hour Work Week at Microsoft - If you want to be more effective, limit the time you spend. It’s a forcing function that fixes a lot of underlying execution issues that you just cannot see if your organization throws time at problems.
Patterns and Practices for New Hires - These are from the school of hard knocks. Whether you're a new hire or taking on a new job, I share some principles, patterns and practices to be more effective.
From the Web A Language for Software Architecture - An article I wrote for The Architecture Journal on how to map out the software architecture space, so we can organize and share knowledge more effectively.
You 2.0 – A free e-Book I wrote to help you unleash a version of your best self. Find your purpose, live your values, play to your strengths.
“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” -- Jim Ryun
One of the best moves I use to change habits and adopt new practices is very simple, but very effective:
I schedule a recurring Friday appointment on my calendar. On that appointment, I list reminders, habits, and practices that I want to work on. It’s the art of applied reflection.
I tend to use bulleted questions, because they make a great checklist and I find that questions work better than statements for reflection. Here are a couple of examples to show what I mean:
You get the idea.
This works extremely well for baking in new practices, especially after taking a new course or training. It helps turn the training into action, because it forces you to turn the insights you learned into simple test cases (For example, the questions above.) It also works well, simply because it’s making you mindful of your choices, and it’s reminding you to check your thinking, feeling, or doing against your goals.
I’ve been using this practice for several years, and it’s worked like a champ. It’s part of the Friday Reflection pattern in Getting Results the Agile Way.
If there is a new pattern or practice you want to adopt, simply add a Friday reminder and see how easily you can adopt a new habit.
From the Archives Customer-Connected Engineering – Involving customers throughout your software development cycle can help you make sure you make something your customers need and want. It also helps you better understand the requirements and prioritize more effectively. It also helps you get more relevant and timely feedback so you can ship stuff that people will use. We’ve called the approach we’ve used in patterns & practices, Customer-Connected Engineering (CCE), and this is the approach in a nutshell.
Methodologies at a Glance – At the heart of every software methodology, there are core practices. When you know the key activities and artifacts that make up a methodology, you can easily compare across methodologies to find the best fit. You can also fill your toolbox with practices so that you can use the ones that you need, when you need them. This is a bird’s-eye view of some of the more popular software project and product development methodologies.
From the Web Focus Guidelines – It’s been said that the difference between those that succeed, and those that don’t is focus. Focus is a skill you can build and use throughout your lifetime, to counter distractions, fully engage in what you do, reduce stress, and improve your results. This is a comprehensive set of guidelines that give you an edge in today’s world.
How To – Set Goals and Achieve Them – This is a step-by-step guide for setting compelling goals, and making them happen. If goals leave a bad taste in your mouth, this can help you turn it around. It’s all about creating goals that inspire you and that help you achieve whatever you set out to do.
Chris Smith wrote a great overview of my productivity system on Stepcase Lifehack.org. The article is Productivity System Overview: Getting Results the Agile Way.
Chris is very familiar with various productivity systems, including Getting Things Done. I enjoyed reading Chris’s article, and I especially liked how he covered so much ground in such a short amount of space. He honed right in on what’s important, and made the key points pop.
I think what Chris really caught on to, and surfaced in his review, is that Getting Results the Agile Way is all about achieving meaningful results, and not just doing more tasks.
My Related Posts
As a Program Manager, one of the things I’ve had to do a lot is, “pitch projects.” Whether it’s pitching a project or talking about a project in the hall, it helps to have an elevator pitch that sticks.
The ideal elevator pitch for a project is simple, sticky, and makes the point fast. Somebody shouldn’t have to work too hard to figure out what it’s about. It’s the essence in a nutshell.
The Minimum Elevator Pitch Here are a few example elevator pitches I’ve used for some of my projects:
I’m a fan of the one-liner reminders. They make it easy for you to tell and sell the story. Additionally, they make it easier for others to tell and sell your story if they have a simple, sticky, one-liner reminder, and in today’s world, word-of-mouth marketing is your friend.
The Maximum Elevator Pitch Here is an example of an elaborated elevator pitch template, I’ve used in patterns & practices on a slide, as a more formal way of expression the cornerstone attributes of the project:
It’s always great to see how technology can help make the world a better place.
You might remember Ed Jezierski from his Microsoft days. In his early years at Microsoft, he worked on the Microsoft Developer Support team, helping customers succeed on the platform. These early experiences taught Ed the value of teamwork and collaboration, extreme customer focus, and the value of principles, patterns, and proven practices for addressing recurring issues, and building more robust designs.
From there, Ed was one of the early members of the patterns & practices team. As one of the first Program Managers on the patterns & practices team, Ed was the driving force behind many of the first guides from patterns & practices for developers, including the Data Access guide, and the early Application Architecture guide. He was also the master mind behind the first application blocks (Exception Management Block, Data Access Block, Caching Block, etc.) , which forever changed the destiny of patterns & practices. The application blocks helped transition patterns & practices from an IT and system administrator focus, to a focus on developers and solution architects. In his role as an Architect, on the patterns & practices team, Ed played a significant role in shaping the technical strategy and orchestrating key design and engineering issues across the patterns & practices portfolio. One of his most significant impacts was the early design and shaping of the Microsoft Enterprise Library.
In his later years, Ed worked on incubation and innovation teams, where he learned a lot about streamlining innovation, making things happen, and how to create systems and processes to support innovation, in a more organic and agile way, to balance more formal engineering practices for bringing ideas and innovation to market.
But, just like James Bond, “the world is not enough.” Ed’s passion was always for helping people around the world in a grand scale. His strength and amazing skill is applying technology to change the world and making the world a better place, by solving solve real-world problems. (I still remember the day, Ed showed up in his bullet proof armor, ready to deploy technology in some of the most dangerous places in the world.)
Now, as CTO at InSTEDD, Ed hops around the globe helping communities everywhere design and use technology to continuously improve their health, safety and development. As you can imagine, Ed has to make things happen in some of the most extreme scenarios, responding to natural disasters and health incidents. And he uses Getting Results the Agile Way as a system for driving results for himself and the teams he leads.
Here is Ed Jezierski on Getting Results the Agile Way …
How you split the work is one thing. How you team up on work is another.
This is one of those patterns that can be counter-intuitive, but is one of the single-biggest factors for successful teams. I've seen it time and again, over many years, in many places.
When I compare the effectiveness of various organizations, there's a pattern that always stands out. It's how they leverage their capabilities in terms of teamwork. For the sake of simplicity, I'll simply label the two patterns:
In the One-Man Band scenario, while everybody is on a team, they are all working on seperate things and individual parts. In the Pairing Up scenario, multiple people work on the same problems, together. In other words ...
The Obvious Answer is Often the Wrong Answer The obvious choice is to divide and conquer the work and split the resources to tackle it. That would be great if this was the industrial age, and it was just an assembly line. The problem is it's the knowledge area, and in the arena of knowledge work, you need multiple skills and multiple perspectives to make things happen effectively and efficiently.
Teams of Capabilities, Beat Teams of One In other words, you need teams of capabilities. When you Pair Up, you're combining capabilities. When you combine capabilities, that means that people spend more time in their strengths. You might be great at the technical perspective, but then lack the customer perspective. Or you might be great at doing it, but not presenting it. Or you might be great at thinking up ideas, but suck at sticking with the daily grind to finish the tough stuff. Or you might be great at grinding through the tasks, but not so great at coming up with ideas, or prioritizing, etc.
The One-Man Band Scenario Creates Bottlenecks and Inefficiencies As the One-Man Band, what happens is everybody bottlenecks. They spend more time in their weaknesses and things they aren't good at. Worse, the person ends up married to their idea, or the idea represents just one person's thinking, instead of the collective perspective.
Crews Spend More Time in Strengths and Gain Efficiencies If you've had the benefit of seeing these competing strategies first hand, then it's easy with hind-sight to fully appreciate the value of Pairing Up on problems vs. splitting the work up into One-Man Bands. For many people, they've never had the benefit of working as "crews" or pairing up on problems, and, instead, spend a lot of energy working on their weaknesses and meanwhile, spending way less time on their strength.
When people work as teams of capabilities, and are Pairing Up on problems, the execution engine starts to streamline, people gain efficiencies, and get exponential results. Several by-products also happen:
There are Execution Patterns for High Performing Teams Of course there are exceptions to the generalization (for example, some individuals have a wide variety of just the right skills), and of course their are success patterns (and anti-patterns) for building highly effective teams of capabilities, and effectively pairing people up in ways that are empowering, and catalyzing. I learned many of these the hard way, through trial and error, and many years of experimenting while under the gun to bring out the best in individuals and simultaneously unleash and debottleneck teams for maximum performance and impact. I’ve also had the benefit of mentoring teams, and individuals in reshaping their execution. This is probably an area where it’s worth me sharing a more focused collection of patterns and practices on leading high performance teams.
If you have a favorite post or favorite write up that drills into this topic, please send it my way. In my experience, it's one of the most fundamental game changers to improving the execution and impact of any team, and especially, one that does any sort of knowledge work, and engineering.
From the Archives Agile Architecture Method -- Scope and focus your architecture exercise, use scenarios to drive the design and evaluate potential solutions, and expose key choice points. It's a way to bridge traditional architecture with more agile, iterative, and incremental ways. This approach is the synthesis of more than 30 seasoned solution architects inside and outside of Microsoft, as well as security experts, and performance experts.
User Stories for Cloud Enterprise Strategy -- A collection of user stories for the cloud. This collection is a simple map of the most common scenarios that Enterprise Architects, business leaders, and IT leaders will be facing as they adopt cloud technologies. These are real scenarios from real customers, thinking through and planning their cloud adoption.
Windows Azure Whitepapers Roundup – If you want to read up on Microsoft’s cloud story, there are plenty of whitepapers to get you started. This is a collection of the various Windows Azure whitepapers around Microsoft for developers, IT Pros, and business leaders.
From the Web Motivation Guidelines – A set of proven practices for improving your motivation, finding your drive, and inspiring action. Motivation is a skill you can use the rest of your life. Find the key practices that work for you, and use this collection as your mental toolbox to draw from.
36 Best Business Books that Influenced Microsoft Leaders – The beauty of Microsoft is the extremely high concentration of smart people and I like to leverage the collective brain I posed the following question to several Microsoft leaders, past and present, and up and down the ranks, ““What are the top 3 books that changed your life in terms of business effectiveness?” This is the answer I got.
Cloud computing is hot. As customers makes sense of what the Microsoft cloud story means to them, one of the first things they tend to do is look for case studies of the Microsoft cloud platform. They like to know what their peers, partners, and other peeps are doing.
Internally, I get to see a lot of what our customers are doing across various industries and how they are approaching the cloud behind the scenes. It’s amazing the kind of transformations that cloud computing brings to the table and makes possible. Cloud computing is truly blending and connecting business and IT (Information Technology), and it’s great to see the connection. In terms of patterns, customers are using the cloud to either reduce cost, create new business opportunities and agility, or compete in ways they haven’t been able to before. One of the most significant things cloud computing does is force people to truly understand what business they are in and what their strategy actually is.
Externally, luckily, we have a great collection of Microsoft cloud case studies available at Windows Azure Case Studies.
I find having case studies of the Microsoft cloud story makes it easy to see patterns and to get a sense of where some things are going. Here is a summary of some of the case studies available, and a few direct links to some of the studies.
Advertising Industry Examples of the Microsoft cloud case studies in advertising:
Air Transportation Services Examples of the Microsoft cloud case studies in air transportation services:
Capital Markets and Securities Industry Examples of the Microsoft cloud case studies in capital markets and securities:
Education Examples of the Microsoft cloud case studies in education:
Employment Placement Agencies Examples of the Microsoft cloud case studies in employment agencies:
Energy and Environmental Agencies Examples of the Microsoft cloud case studies in enery and environmental agencies:
Financial Services Industry Examples of the Microsoft cloud case studies in the financial services industry:
Food Service Industry Examples of the Microsoft cloud case studies in the food service industry:
Government Agencies Examples of the Microsoft cloud case studies in government agencies:
Healthcare Industry Examples of the Microsoft cloud case studies in healthcare:
High Tech and Electronics Manufacturing Examples of the Microsoft cloud case studies in high tech and electronics manufacturing:
Hosting Examples of the Microsoft cloud case studies in hosting:
Insurance Industry Examples of the Microsoft cloud case studies in the insurance industry:
IT Services Examples of the Microsoft cloud case studies in IT services:
Life Sciences Examples of the Microsoft cloud case studies in life sciences:
Manufacturing Examples of the Microsoft cloud case studies in manufacturing:
Media and Entertainment Industry Examples of the Microsoft cloud case studies in media and entertainment:
Metal Fabrication Industry Examples of the Microsoft cloud case studies in metal fabrication:
Nonprofit Organizations Examples of the Microsoft cloud case studies in non-profit organizations:
Oil and Gas Industry Examples of the Microsoft cloud case studies in oil and gas:
Professional Services Examples of the Microsoft cloud case studies in professional services:
Publishing Industry Examples of the Microsoft cloud case studies in publishing:
Retail Industry Examples of the Microsoft cloud case studies in retail:
Software Engineering Examples of the Microsoft cloud case studies in software:
Telecommunications Industry Examples of the Microsoft cloud case studies in telecommunications:
Training Industry Examples of the Microsoft cloud case studies in training:
Transportation and Logistics Industry Examples of the Microsoft cloud case studies in transportation:
“Information is not knowledge.” – Albert Einstein
What if you could streamline your way through vast seas of information to find the needles in the haystacks, or make sense of an ever changing landscape? Information comes at us so fast, from so many directions. The world changes fast, and, in a knowledge worker world, what you don’t know can hurt you.
One of the FAQs I get asked by colleagues is, how do I make my way through so much information so fast?
If I just say lots of years of deliberate practices writing and reviewing prescriptive guidance in patterns & practices, that doesn't help them much. If I say, I spent hundreds of dollars on books each month and that forced me to read a lot faster, that doesn't help either. So, I started paying attention to where the speed comes from. It’s ultimately a system of things and habits from practice, but here are a few keys you can use …
Reading and Analyzing Information
Writing Information Faster
Since joining the Enterprise Strategy Team at Microsoft, I’ve had to shift gears and focus more on business, business architecture, and strategy patterns. Luckily, there’s no shortage of material on business design. The trick is finding the useful nuggets of insight and action.
Here’s an example of a useful nugget regarding how to think about the three core types of businesses …
In the book, Business Model Generation, Alex Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur, Alan Smith, Patrick Van Der Pijl, and Tim Clark suggest unbundling your business by splitting it into three core types:
While the three types can co-exist within a single corporation, you can avoid conflicts or undesirable trade-offs by unbundling them, into separate entities.
When your business is bundled, it’s tough to streamline things or make it more effective, because the focus is fractured.
When you unbundle your business, you can gain clarity, focus, efficiencies, and effectiveness. You can also make it easier to innovate in your processes, platforms, and products because of the clarity and focus.
As you can imagine, this is crucial for any significant cloud plays and business transformations. I’m in the business of business transformation now, as well as connecting business with IT (Information Technology), so it’s helpful to fill my toolbox with business strategies and business design methods, and I’ll share my toolbox with you as I go.
In their Value Disciplines Model, Treacy and Wiersema suggest that a business should focus on one of three value disciplines for success:
This re-enforces the idea by John Hagel and Marc Singer to split businesses into three core types (infrastructure businesses, product innovation businesses, and customer relationship businesses.)
The question of course is whether, does Traecy and Wiersema’s model hold up in today’s world, where business blends with technology, and social media makes customer intimacy a commodity?
In the article, The Strategy Accelerator, Alfred Griffioen identifies three models that have been used for strategic competitive differentiation:
Griffioen raises the question whether the models are still relevant, given Porter’s is circa 1980, Traeacy and Wiersema’s are circa 1995, and the BCG portfolio mix is from 1959.
I think the key is that while the landscape may change, the principles remain the same, they just need to be adapted.
This helps show why knowing the *why* and the context behind a principle is always key (as in *why* or *how* does it work … or even *when* does it work?) That’s why patterns are a key way to share principles and strategies (they not only build a shared language, while sharing a problem and solution pair, but they also bound it to a context.)
In the article, The Strategy Accelerator, Alfred Griffioen shares four gears for differentiation and competitive advantage:
Strategies for Each Gear Griffioen shares strategies for each of the gears, to make the most of your market position:
In the article, The Strategy Accelerator, Alfred Griffioen shares some specific examples of how today’s landscape changes the competitive arena:
I’ve seen this in action, and I like how Alfred called these out. It helps us not just see the landscape, but start to form new rules for the road.
One town that all roads seem to lead to, is that … brand is the ultimate differentiator.
It’s a reflection of the perception of perceived value, the emotional benefits, the intangibles and the culture and the values that the brand stands for. In fact, a good way to test your brand is to figure out the three to five attributes that it represents.
Brand is a powerful thing because it’s a position in the mind. For some categories, especially on the Web, sometimes you only need one brand at the top, and the rest don’t matter. That’s why sometimes the only way to play, is to divide the niche, or expand to a new category.
As an individual, your brand can serve you in many ways at your company, from opening doors to creating glide paths … especially, when your reputation proceeds you in a good way.
The trick as an individual is, how do you fit in, while finding ways to stand out and sharing your unique value?