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Whether you’re conscious of it or not, you have a personal brand. In a professional environment, you promote your unique brand through words and actions. As a result, whether in an office or in a meeting, the things you say and do create a perception that can either help or hurt your professional career. Accordingly, being intentional with the words you use matters.
If you are working on developing your own professional brand, the number one word that you should use is “why.”
Just three letters with so much impact. This word can help you understand, take action and define yourself within your work environment. Here’s why (see what we did there?).
Well, why not? Why is the ultimate question. It’s the catalyst for social advancement. Asking why can change perceptions, drive progress and even discover new methods of operations.
In the case of elevating your personal brand, asking “why” can demonstrate that you are an efficient leader, a creative and strategic problem solver, and a professional who cares about the work you do.
Regardless of whether you’re in a leadership position yet or not, asking why can be used as a tool of productivity. Leaders are responsible for managing tasks and guiding others to contribute their own skills towards elected tasks.
When another team member poses a solution, the “why” question is a necessity. Why should we spend money on this solution? Why will this solution work? Why do we even need a solution? Questions like these can push others to explain outcomes and to justify time (and money) spent to solve a problem. Redirecting others to find the why to their solutions indicates leadership qualities, such as project management, by encouraging others to determine the reasons behind their actions.
As the leader of a team, it’s my duty to make sure we’re running as efficiently as possible. We develop operational and creative processes for ourselves and our clients that we think work effectively, but we often ask the question why. Why are we doing things this way? Is it because it’s how it’s always been done, or is there a more effective way to execute with the same or better outcome? I challenge my team to ask my why constantly.
This is equally as relevant when things are going smoothly. For example, when our client close ratios or email open rates are increasing, asking why can set you up for future success as you spot current market trends. It’s the smartest and most simple question you can ask to spark a collaborative dialogue and should be encouraged.
In addition to asking other people to answer why, the results of habitually asking yourself why will ultimately show in your output. Not only will asking yourself this question increase productivity, but it often leads to a better end result.
Using “why” to facilitate your problem-solving process is an effective way to find solutions that are not immediately obvious. As a result, asking why can prompt investigations into the roots of the problem. From this research, you will be more equipped to find an answer once you truly understand the issue at hand. Although this question might extend your initial planning process, it will ultimately save you time when you discover the most successful decision. Pursuing the question of why will subsequently elevate your brand because you will be able to justify your work and establish yourself as a proficient problem solver.
Asking why can also be incredibly empowering. At Elevate My Brand, we often challenge our clients to define their why because it is at the core of both a strong personal and corporate brand. Colleagues and consumers alike can see if a brand is aligned with a why that’s inspiring and relevant.
At its most basic, curiosity and questioning show that you care. It displays your interest in the work you produce and oversee. Understanding the why makes any project feel more significant and impactful because you will be driving towards a deeper purpose behind a project. Asking yourself and others this question demonstrates your passion for the work you do. Everyone wants to work with someone that loves what they do, so asking why might just be the single most important word in your arsenal to show others your drive and empathy.
Okay, but why does this all matter? We’ve shown you how asking “why?” can elevate your professional brand by demonstrating your skills as a qualified leader, problem solver and caring entrepreneur. As a result, you will appear more trustworthy, competent, and driven with the work you do. So, the real question is, why wouldn’t you want that?
This article was written by a Fairygodboss contributor.
Laurel sits on the Board of Directors for NFTE (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship), the Women Founders Network, is a mentor for The Women's Global Leaders Initiative, and advises LAVA (Los Angeles Venture Association). Her published work can be found in Inc Magazine, Entrepreneur, USA Today and The American Marketing Association.
Asking why is a critical jumping-off point. If you’re having trouble answering the why about your brand, sign up for Digital Mindmap sessions with Elevate My Brand. In less than 90 minutes, our team can uncover your unique why.
Contact us here to elevate your brand today!
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