“You” The Product

I have been lucky to have great mentors in my career. “You are your own CEO!” quipped one of them during a session and I had not approached my career that way until then! It makes a lot of sense looking at ourselves from the outside, treating us as a Product that needs to have a mission and vision aligned with our values, with a plan and roadmap on how we develop, market, sell and continuously improve ourselves. Questions like “why should anyone be interested in you as a professional Product?”, “what and how do you add value, now or in the future, to anyone or any group?”, “what/how do you showcase strengths and address weaknesses?” etc. must have easy answers.

photo of a man speaking and a woman thinking

Develop Skills

You as a Product should be desirable in the marketplace – perhaps in multiple markets. Show openness and flexibility to be repurposed in ways you had not considered. Stay current with the latest innovations and improvements in your areas of interest. A desire to continuously learn and grow is a must.

Build Brand Equity 

Be a good team player, with a good work ethic and a burning desire to succeed. These are highly appreciated and often difficult to demonstrate and gauge. Having a few 5* reviews through your network is a must. It is also about looking at yourself from the eyes of someone who can help you get to where you want to be. Be open and deliberate about the people associated with you – and keep growing it. Spend time on sustaining and growing existing relationships and the network you’ve built.

Selling

As with any other Product, your reputation should precede you before meeting new people as you build relationships. Your next level of engagements are more about discussing ideas and personality fits than about your abilities, attitude and skills.

Pricing

Know your value, do your research. If you are pricing yourself above market, have clarity about why you deserve to charge a premium. As you build skills, know their worth in the marketplace.

Housekeeping 

Keeping your resources working well together and optimally is critical. Take care of your mental and physical health, you are only as good as your resources. Not all employees are superstars, they just need to work well together as a team. Exercise, have fun and take breaks and stay focused when needed. I would also add that as a human Product, be kind to yourself – we all have way more strengths that value if you bring the right attitude.

This story from Hari Vijay, Senior Director Karsun Innovation Center Lean Practice, first appeared on LinkedIn.

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