I have scheduled a variety of experts for our upcoming Employee Evangelism Worshop.
This post is asking some tough questions to Phil Gerbyshak, the make it great guy, on why he is participating and what is his role.
1) What do you contribute to the Employee Evangelism Workshops?
Phil: As a full-time employee in corporate America, I live employee evangelism every day. Additionally, as a full-time solopreneur, I live personal brand evangelism every night. The techniques I use to talk about my day job cross over into the things I do to build my personal brand; being authentic, making it easy for folks to talk about me, and repeating the same message over and over again.
I’ve also been blogging to develop my personal brand since March of 2005, with varying degrees of success. I can share my successes and my struggles, and help you cut years off your personal branding learning curve.
2) Phil, you have a good full time job with a large company and you are not in sales and marketing. Why have you worked so hard building a great personal brand?
Phil: Great question Ron! To borrow a term from Daniel Pink, we live in a “free-agent nation,” and aren’t guaranteed of anything from our companies, only an offer of what might be. If I’m going to be successful in this world, it may or may not happen at my day job. What I can do is build myself to be the best me I can be, by continuing to learn more about my passions and my strengths, and not let myself get boxed in by the typical definition of an IT guy, a manager, or even a guy from Wisconsin.
Most of all, I don’t want to be defined by anything not of my choosing.
3) What have been the biggest advantages of building your brand?
I see the biggest advantage being folks know me as Phil Gerbyshak, helpful guy, and few think about me as an employee in a faceless corporation.
I’d bet if you asked folks where I live (Milwaukee), many know my name, but few know where I work or what I do. That’s been a very intentional brand building part of my life. This helps folks see me in a very positive light, and don’t equate my success with the success of my company.
To be clear, I love my job and my company and my team. I just don’t want to be pigeon holed as an employee of company x.
4) Phil, how do you juggle a full time job, time with family and building your personal brand? Do you have a social life?
Phil: Very carefully Ron. Seriously, I do it by making sure that instead of living 3 distinct lives, I interweave them all into 1 great life. When I’m at work, I am the go-to guy people turn to when they don’t know who else to ask. Though I’m an IT manager, I’m seen as a leader who folks can turn to for personal development, management advice, and just an overall helpful guy. You could say many of these same things about my personal brand as a solopreneur, and in my family.
Social life? Sure, I go to movies with my wife, go to sporting events and house parties with my friends and family, and find time to mentor a 16 year old boy with Big Brothers Big Sisters, in addition to giving back with several other non-profits locally in Milwaukee.
The key? It’s all congruent with who I am, and it makes it part of the brand that is Phil Gerbyshak.
5) What are the biggest advantages of having a strong, online personal brand?
One of the biggest advantages I see is folks can easily find me in the way that I want them to find me. If you search for Phil Gerbyshak, you will find items I created or interviews with me, so the message is directly from me. My message is consistently spread because I took the time to build my brand. If you don’t take the time to build your brand, you run the risk that someone else will. And I don’t want someone else to say who I am, I want to be part of that story!
The other advantage I’ll mention is having a strong online personal brand easily translates into a strong OFFline personal brand. I’ve gotten to meet some really amazing people (like you, Timothy Johnson, Priscilla Palmer, Kevin Eikenberry, Steve Farber and Rosa Say, to name a few) all because I’ve taken the time to share my brand with others.
6) Where are the best places to see your personal brand in action?
Phil: Right now the best places to see my personal brand in action are at Make It Great! (http://makeitgreat.typepad.com) and at Slacker Manager (http://www.slackermanager.com). You could also pick up a copy of my book 10 Ways to Make It Great! at http://makeitgreatbook.com if you wanted a practical workbook to improve your life.
Thanks Phil. Come join Phil and me in Las Vegas in January, 2008. Everyone can build a personal brand and everyone is a buzz marketer.