“you cannot know what you will discover on the journey, what you will do with what you find, or what you find will do to you.” – James Baldwin
Author S. Renee Smith
I was scheduled to meet with a CEO at “The Metropolitan Club of the city of Washington.” The club is where Ambassadors, Senators, CEO’s and other dignitaries hold membership and build relationships without notepad pages flipping or cell phones buzzing—neither is allowed.
We were meeting to discuss possible business opportunities and how I could best plan and position myself to sit on national boards. During our conversation, the CEO shared this:
Time is up for men who look like me (white). It’s becoming a woman’s world.
He was referring to the #metoo message that was surging as a leader in shifting power dynamics in the workplace. However, since then, the #blacklivesmatter movement has taken center stage. Protestors, advocates, and everyday people from all walks of life have united their influence on social media platforms to create radical change that is transforming workplace cultures.
What I’m noticing is that by joining forces, space is being created for employees who are marginalized to call leaders out for disrespecting them, and negligently hindering employees career success. Once an incident is posted on a social media platform and likes and retweets multiply, the national media picks up the story. With massive exposure, the offender comes forward with a sorrowful apology and submits a shameful resignation.
Employee and customer power, what I call public empowerment, is even shifting company policies at drastically rapid rates.
According to reports, Starbucks reversed a standing policy that bans sporting gear that advocates for religious or political movements, including Black Lives Matter,” after staff and customers threatened to boycott. This recognition is also shifting the perspectives, strategic plans, and resources of organizations. Such as the case with Comcast, who posted a multi-year strategic plan on June 8, 2020, dedicating 100 million dollars to advance social justice and equality. And they aren’t the only one.
What do these transitions mean for you?
I believe they are ushering in a new consciousness and countless opportunities to make a difference in so many spaces.
Companies are pivoting and will continue to be forward-focused and employee-centered. As such, it’s likely, what you did before February 2020 will no longer suit the needs of an evolving workplace.
For this reason, you have to reinvent yourself. I suggest you start observing where companies are headed and what role you want to play as an employee or as a business owner.
Here are a few thoughts:
Rewrite your brand story.
- The story you shared before the health pandemic, economic crisis, and racial awakening most likely will no longer fit due to the all drastic adjustments we all have had to make to survive. Rethink what new experiences you’ll share and craft an innovative message based on them.
Assess your brand equity.
- How much is your brand worth? What have you learned from the current challenges, and what intellectual property have you acquired? Get clear on what you can offer and how much it’s worth to an organization.
Evaluate your network.
- Although not impossible, as a result of being in quarantine, it’s difficult to build reliable, trusting relationships with new people. List the people who know, like, and trust you. Think about their brand equity and seek their assistance in helping you expand your brand and network.
As you pivot to reinvent yourself, take the time to craft, communicate, and market your message effectively.
© 2020 S. Renee Smith is an executive and communications and branding expert. She helps senior leaders increase their income and influence by becoming more likable, marketable, and credible. She is also the author of six books on communication, branding, and self-esteem. For more tips, visit asksrenee.com. Want to reinvent yourself? Learn more about S. Renee’s upcoming workshop here.