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A wise and valued friend reminded me last week of an important concept that we all seem to forget about in our busy daily careers: Personal Positioning Statement. On the subject of career brand management, the Personal Positioning Statement is ground zero, square one.

What is it? Why should a leader care? Is this concept some new age fad created by consultants with too much time on their hands?

What is it? This term is used in two different ways. Overall, It is a statement of who you are, and how you want people to see you. For someone in the job market, the PPS is oriented more to your job history, accomplishments, and the value you will bring to a new organization. It also is known, infamously, as the elevator speech. However, for leaders, it is something far more. You cannot be an effective leader unless you have an authentic, credible brand that defines how you will make decisions, how you will interact with your superiors, peers, subordinates and your customers. It should address the values you hold dear – the role of your colleagues, family and friends. The most successful leaders have a strong and consistent brand. They pay attention to those components of their Personal Positioning Statement every day, every week. Each time they communicate their ideas, their concerns and their hopes, the PPS is the driving force in the tone and what was said.

Why should a leader care? You should care because your brand will determine how successful you will be as a leader. If you are perceived as too harsh, too negative, isolated, or sympathetic, you may produce the expected results – profits – but you probably won’t be successful over the long term. The Personal Positioning Statement can be a constant guide against an ego spike, arrogance, and forgetting to put others first. You should care because the PPS is your roadmap and your balance.

Is this just the latest catch phrase from consultants? Successful industry leaders will say NO! In fact, it is not a new idea. Successful corporations have been using similar ideas to carefully guide and nurture their profitable brands for years. Companies like Procter & Gamble understand that if consumers perceive a product as having poor quality or has little value at the price point, it will fail sooner than later. For more than 30 years, the leaders at the front of the pack have been using PPS faithfully with enormous success.

Now Here Is The Secret To Success: Managing your Personal Positioning Statement is not an informal, mental exercise. It is not a one-time project. It requires thoughtful attention and the discipline to write it down. Put pen to paper and document how you want others to see you, value you, and envision your personal career brand. Specifically, list your general goals and objectives and support those with the values that you believe in and can live with as a leader. Every decision you make, every interaction you have with colleagues and customers, every article you write or speech you make – the content should reflect your PPS.

Moreover, just as Procter & Gamble or General Mills monitor their brands against competitors and changing consumer demands, so must leaders review their PPS. Times change and the Personal Positioning Statement must be a dynamic document to reflect those changes and guide you through.

Writing your PPS is important. Following it will be rewarding.

You have one life, one career. Make it the best that it can be.

And to my valued friend and adviser. Thanks. I needed that!

John G. Self is Chairman and Senior Client Advisor of JohnMarch Partners. He is a Co-Founder of the Firm.

A former investigative reporter and crime writer with more than 30-years of healthcare leadership experience in public relations, national marketing, business development and as Chief Executive Officer of hospitals and consulting firms, Mr. Self is highly regarded for his keen insight into operations, business culture and for his ability to consistently select the right leaders.

John is a highly rated speaker on inspirational leadership, career brand management and the future of healthcare in America. To contact Mr. Self regarding a speaking date, contact him at JohnMarch Partners.

You can contact Mr. Self at 214.220.1234 or He is an active member of LinkedIn and a frequent editorial contributor.

You can find John on Facebook, Plaxo or, you can follow him on Twitter at Self_JohnMarch.

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