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Who We’re Not

Sometimes it’s easier to know who we are by figuring out who we’re not. Companies know that those with a good brand will sell more at higher prices. Additionally, people will forgive their odd mistake...

Sometimes it’s easier to know who we are by figuring out who we’re not. Companies know that those with a good brand will sell more at higher prices. Additionally, people will forgive their odd mistake, and they will attract better employees. So the most profitable companies spend a lot of time analyzing their strengths and weaknesses to determine who they are. This process was an important part of my working career. To determine who we were, we always started by deciding who we weren’t. No company is going to be good at everything, and it’s best not to try to be everything to everyone. It’s the same for us as individuals. If we know what we are capable of and where we’re weaker, we can produce higher quality work and be more efficient. We’ll have less frustration and more fun!

In my former company’s case, we calculated our large percentage of offshore customers and positioned ourselves as a global investment. The market liked that, and our value increased. Of course our competitors noticed, and it wasn’t long before one with a huge North American retail operation started describing themselves as a global company as well. It didn’t fly with investors. To be credible, you have to be congruent with who you are and who you say you are. If you aren’t authentic, people will pick it up. I learned this personally as well. I am not a joke teller, and early in my career, I was asked to be the M.C. at a company party. I told a few canned jokes that bombed before deciding to just be myself at the mic (which was far more effective). I learned that I am funnier using my own humor rather than that of someone else.

We can determine who we’re not by accessing the wisdom available to us from both our minds and our bodies:

1) Start by using your mind and your body to analyze someone else. What are their strengths and weaknesses, and where you are different?

2) Then check with your body. Imagine yourself doing what another is doingFree Web Content, and see how it feels. Do you get an uncomfortable stirring in your chest or stomach? This is what business people call their “gut reaction.” I‘ve also heard it described as “not passing the smell test.”

One of the best ways to determine what is true is to contrast it with what is not. It’s another approach to the first Stilletto Step of Self-Awareness. Who have you found that you’re not?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


After a highly successful career in business, including 26 years with PotashCorp where she was Senior Vice-President, Betty-Ann retired in 2007, the same year that she was named to Canada‘s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Hall of Fame™. She now works as a speaker, author and mentor and is committed to using her personal and professional experiences to inspire and empower other women.  A firm believer in the value women bring to organizations, Betty-Ann explores changing perceptions of male and female roles including candid observations about what she calls "Good Gender Physics” on her blog at www.stillettochick.com. She helps both men and women understand the primary energy of their gender but also accept and appreciate the strengths of their opposite.



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