Friday, November 14, 2008

How Your Personal Brand Makes an Impact

Understanding the Importance of Performance, Image and Exposure

By Cambridge Who's Who Member and Contributing Author Philip B. Righter

Impact…you know it when you see it.

In its mathematical form:

Impact = Confidence + Competence + Credibility

To have impact, you must consistently deliver exceptional results by connecting dots and showing how the big picture relates to tactical execution; demonstrate intimate knowledge and expertise of the subject matter while exuding confidence but not arrogance; and maintain your composure and effective management skills through a crisis while presenting information clearly and concisely. The art of charts, interaction and the ability to communicate at all levels of the organization will also come in handy. (Definition derived from “5 Steps to Professional Presence” by Susan Bixler and Lisa Scherrer Dugan)

Impact and “Executive Presence” are concepts that most people can identify but have a hard time describing. If we watched someone with Impact and Executive Presence, what behaviors would we observe? The individual in question would project an image of confidence, competence and credibility.

Each of the three C’s builds upon one another. Confidence is derived from being comfortable with who you are as well as having a working knowledge of the subject matter. Competence is a reflection of how comfortable you are with a particular topic, and you typically display more confidence the more competent you are. Credibility comes when, through your confidence and competence, you are able to deliver what you have committed to. When you are credible, people believe you because your “Say/Do Ratio” is equal- i.e., what you say you are going to do = what you actually do.

You can increase your confidence, competence and credibility by doing the following:

  • Consistently deliver exceptional results – Everything starts and ends with the ability to produce exceptional results on a consistent basis.

  • Connect the dots – Be a clear thinker who connects the strategic picture to tactical objectives with accountability. Clear thinking is one of the main traits of a growth leader.

  • Demonstrate intimate knowledge and expertise – This is where many people can gain their confidence, as expertise is also a growth leader trait. Each of us should develop functional depth on a subject related to our position. You gain this knowledge through varied experiences and a compilation of skills. It is important to realize that you shouldn’t act like you know something when you really don’t. It’s OK to say, “I don’t know” if you commit to finding the answer.

  • Exude confidence, not arrogance – Be confident yet humble. Don’t act like you have all the answers and know everything. And do not be prideful, arrogant or boastful. Leaders with impact are open to feedback and opposing points of view.

  • Maintain composure – We all have crises and emergencies. Leaders with impact are calm and collected as they manage the issues. In other words, they understand the magnitude of the issue, put emotions into perspective, create an action plan and communicate the issue and plan to stakeholders.

  • Present information clearly and concisely – Here there are two equally important concepts: preparing the pitch and delivering the pitch. You must construct your presentation so the message, call for action and next steps are clear and flow well throughout the pitch. This includes the use of charts, colors and graphics. Once you have created the presentation, you must deliver it with the appropriate use of gestures, voice inflection, audience interaction and eye contact.

  • Interact and communicate at all levels – Leaders with impact can interact and communicate with exempt, non-exempt and hourly employees. It shouldn’t matter what the person’s title or job responsibilities are. Leaders with impact display respect and consideration to all. This is consistent with the inclusive growth leader trait.
Note that we can use the phrases “Executive Presence” and “making an impact” interchangeably. Making an impact means understanding that our economy is a meritocracy. The United States is a place where performance and execution count the most. Your drive, determination and commitment to succeed are part of the image you project.

The PIE model (based on “Empowering Yourself – The Organization Game Revealed” by Harvey Coleman) is a framework for success that lays the foundation for personal and professional growth. It comprises performance, image and exposure:
  • Performance: This is your entry ticket and reputation-builder. It begins your legacy – the common denominator in the promotion process. It also confirms your ability to take on more responsibility, helping you to stay above the bar as it is continuously raised.

  • Image: It is the message that you send before you speak, whether intentional or not. It includes attire, confidence and demeanor, and develops early in your career. Every interaction counts, so make sure that all are positive.

  • Exposure: This lets others know of your performance and makes you visible to those who can influence your career. It can be enhanced by a strong network of mentors, bosses and champions. Exposure is a double-edged sword; if you perform well and obtain exposure, you can score a home-run. If you perform poorly and obtain exposure, you can strike out.
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Cambridge Who's Who Contributing Author Philip B. Righter


Cambridge Who’s Who member, Philip B. Righter, is the chairman and chief executive officer of Righter Holdings, LLC. The financial services firm is comprised of Righter Corporation, Righter Development Corp., The Righter Foundation, Righter Consulting Group, Righter Design Firm and Righter Art Collection, Inc. Mr. Righter’s experience is in strategic sourcing, financial risk mitigation, international commodities, and marketing integration. He also specializes in agency consolidation and review, creative design, and media buying and planning.

Prior to founding Righter Holdings, LLC in 2007, Mr. Righter served as the executive vice president and chief strategy officer of Afterburner Films, LLC where he was very involved in business affairs, rights management and procurement, and the oversight of production costs and company assets. As the former vice president of corporate sourcing and marketing for NBC Universal from 2004 to 2006, Mr. Righter negotiated marketing and media contracts. He also led the Universal Parks Creative Planning Agency Review, where he spearheaded a rebranded image and held the position of manager of sourcing G&P for The Walt Disney Company from 2003 to 2004.

Mr. Righter earned his bachelor of science in economics, statistics, organizational behavior and labor relations from Cornell University in 1999. He is also a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Media Arts & Sciences, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, the International Academy of Visual Arts, the Multicultural Motion Picture Association, Film Independent and is a Scholar on Gerson Lehrman Group Councils.

Mr. Righter also donates his time to charitable causes and is a board member of the Los Angeles Police Foundation. Additionally, he serves as a specialist reserve officer for the Los Angeles Police Department. For more information please visit

Articles by Philip Righter