Creative Personal Branding
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Creative Personal Branding

The Strategy to Answer: What's next

Jurgen Salenbacher

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eBook - ePub

Creative Personal Branding

The Strategy to Answer: What's next

Jurgen Salenbacher

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In this innovative book Jürgen Salenbacher shares his unique personal coaching method designed to develop creative thinking and innovation. The method, while it originated as a career management tool, it can be used by anyone who wishes to explore what they have to offer the world. In five succinct chapters Salenbacher reveals how to use brand positioning methodology to discover where to go next. Along the way he discusses the origins of today's crisis, the keys to creative thinking, he examines the work of leading theorists in business culture, and sets readers 9 assignments designed to coach them towards realising their assets and skills. An invaluable professional resource, Creative Personal Branding is a fascinating and very practical tool for anyone interested in positioning themselves in the creative economy.

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Information

Jahr
2014
ISBN
9789063693602
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WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?
Most of us don’t like change. Why? Because it means making an effort to move out of our perceived comfort zones. Very often change also brings uncertainty with it. Few see opportunities. Many are paralysed, disorientated or confused by lack of stability or too many options. Life today is like a hypermarket with about an average of 70,000 products stocked on the shelves.[1] You enter a shop because you want to buy an apple, and you end up buying a banana. Who knows why?
Of course your reaction to change depends on where you are in life. You may be a student, unemployed, an entrepreneur, a freelancer or a company manager. Ever-increasing responsibilities such as family and children, a mortgage or employees may seem to make it impossible to change. They leave us exhausted at the end of the day. These responsibilities are in many cases the principal reasons for people putting up with the same situation, the same job, the same company for years on end. This continues until one day the environment forces us to change, pushing us. God alone knows whether towards good or bad.
‘The world changes, and we must change with it.’ There was nothing new about the words Barack Obama used on 20 January 2009. What was new was Obama’s attitude towards change: ‘Yes, we can.’
Taking this as a premise, wouldn’t it be better to prepare ourselves and take the initiative in embracing change in our lives instead of being changed by others? To take a positive attitude towards change? To see the exciting opportunities it offers, rather than just the threats? Personally I don’t like other people taking decisions in my life – I prefer to take them on my own, for better or worse. But at least I can stop blaming others. This saves a lot of time and energy which is far more enjoyably invested writing on an exciting new blank page: my future!
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THE FORCE OF CHANGE: LIFE AT SPEED
What the hell is going on? That was the first question I asked myself when I started work on this book, just as the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression of 1929 was unfolding. Like many others, I felt strange about the impacts of the financial crisis, economic instability and the tremendous job losses in the USA and Europe. When a company such as Lehman Brothers went bankrupt in 2008 I was really surprised. A company with 128 years of history – a company which had survived Black Friday in 1929 and two world wars. Then we heard about countries like Iceland on the point of bankruptcy. Later still, Dubai was in serious financial trouble and so too Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Spain … and we still do not know where it will end.
All that has happened in just ten years since the last recession in 2001. Not long ago. And, be sure, the next recession will not be too far away.
The key point is that these are not just events happening somewhere else. We read about those in the Financial Times or watching CNN. We feel touched by them, somehow, but they are of no further personal consequence to us. No, this is the real news, which affects us all, more then ever before. Especially our work and lives – yours and mine. We still receive daily news about historic companies closing down and widespread job losses. An extreme case is Spain, where, at the end of 2012, unemployment reached 26,6% and even 56,5% among people under 25, according to Eurostat.[2]
Whatever you read or watch, the key message is always the same: change is a fact of life. One of the key Buddhist beliefs is that everything changes. History is full of change. But today it seems our economy and, therefore, our society is affected by a new form of change, something more radical and faster than ever before. And the most visible sign of change is clearly defined: nothing is long-term. Work and life seem to change at a pace never seen before. If you are confused, have doubts or are sometimes frustrated by this, you are definitely not alone. In Spaceballs, the science fiction parody of Star Wars (starwars.com), there were four levels of speed: sub-light, light, ridiculous and ludicrous. We are already working at a ridiculous speed. No wonder so many of us are confused.
OK, but what is new that makes today’s change so important? How does change affect our economy and our society today and in the future? What are the consequences for the individual? For our future work and life? Our education and career? How can we prepare and adapt? Most important of all, how can we develop a strategy to answer ‘what’s next’?
WWW: THE WORLD CUP …
I felt I needed to look back to understand what is influencing our changing lives in such a profound way. Within only a few months in the year 1990, I found a constellation of three clustered events, each symbolising a different aspect of the nature of that change.
In 1990 I was twenty years old and ready to set the world on fire during a beautiful hot summer in my home region in south-west Germany. This was the year of the World Cup, the Pink Floyd concert ‘The Wall’ and the Web.
The World Cup final: 8 July 1990. Germany beat Argentina in Rome: 1:0. That was the good part. According to ESPN soccernet, however, this was ‘one of the poorest World Cups ever’. The final was described by veteran football writer Brian Glanville as ‘probably the worst, most tedious, bad-tempered final in the history of the World Cup.’
Why so? Well, it generated a record low goals-per-game average, and sixteen red cards, then a record, were handed out. Most teams relied heavily on defensive play and hard tackling. What was the reason for that defensive strategy? Defending their status from whom? What makes teams like Germany and Italy try to play safe and more roughly than before?
Looking back, it seems that those teams tried to defend their market share as more new competition came into the market place. Does that make sense? To flesh it out, in the 1990 World Cup African countries like Cameroon entered the world stage and ended up as quarter-finalists for the first time. It was the last time we saw Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia as teams: their players were to come back under re-named teams.
Since then the tournament has continued to expand: from sixteen teams in 1978 to thirty-two in 1998, allowing more teams from Asia, Africa and North America to take part. Imagine only that 204 teams attempted to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.[3] The results, too, have been astonishing. Senegal and USA were both quarter-finalists in 2001, and South Korea finished in fourth place at the same year. So, while the game and rules have not changed, change has come through everyone wanting to participate with formerly unknown nations, now much better prepared, gaining a market share. That has upset traditionally successful nations and may make them play more aggressively.
The fact is: there is now much more competition on a global level. And, of course – which is why I am telling you this story – not only at the World Cup.
WWW: … ‘THE WALL’ …
Just thirteen days after the World Cup final, on 21 July 1990, I saw Roger Waters of Pink Floyd play to 350,000 people at the Potsdamer Platz in Berlin at the famous concert called ‘The Wall’. It was a warm Saturday night, charged with emotion. This was the first time after forty years of separation that people from east and west came together to celebrate the tearing down of the Berlin Wall on its former no-man’s land. That magic moment had a tremendous and long-lasting political, geographical and ideological impact.
Think about the world map. Borders move constantly. They change so fast it is almost impossible, even for someone who is travelling a lot, to draw a correct map of their actual status. The European Union, for example, has grown to include more than twenty new nations since the Wall fell: they now include Slovakia, Slovenia and Bulgaria. We have in recent years seen countries like East Germany, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union merge or split and the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and South Korea emerge.
As borders move constantly and become more flexible, they also become more open to trade and investment, and this increases global trade. The World Trade Organization (wto.org), which, with its 158 member states, represents around 97% of the world trade, says that since 1950 world trade has grown more than twenty-seven fold in volume terms. The share of international trade in world GDP (gross domestic product – the basic measure of a country’s overall economic output in a year) has risen from 5.5% in 1950 to 20.5% in 2006.[4] Just to give you an idea, developing countries today are responsible for 26% of world exports, which is double their output in the 1960s, but that is still not a lot if you think that the BRIC countries and South Korea alone account for half of the world’s population of 7 billion people.
All of this is proof of the extent to which falling walls and more flexible boundaries are helping to bring about a global trade expansion.
WWW: … AND THE WEB
Another five months and four days later, on 25 December 1990, Tim Berners-Lee (w3.org/People/Berners-Lee/) established the first communication between an HTTP client and server via the Internet.
That first Internet connection was the official start of real change in how we communicate, do business, work and live. After physical and ideological boundaries became more flexible, technology helped us to make boundaries virtually non-existent and magnified the effect of a global world. Instead of east meeting west, everyone now meets everyone. On the one hand the entry barrier was lowered in almost all the markets, and the costs for searching for any kind of provider dropped to almost zero. On the other hand the access to information and knowledge began to come at a speed never experienced before. The Internet connection was the springboard for our knowledge industry, ‘an industry where success depends on obtaining, managing, and using knowledge in a particular area’, according to the Financial Times (lexicon.ft.com).
I wouldn’t limit the definition only to ‘a particular area’, however. Success depends on managing knowledge in any area and, more importantly, if you are logged on, anywhere and anytime.
CONNECTIVITY: THE SPRINGBOARD
Looking back at those three events, clustered within a few months in 1990, they still stand as markers for the take-off of connectivity at a pace never seen before. Whenever and wherever, choice rules.
Dave Evans, Cisco (cisco.com) futurologist – an amazing job title, by the way – has talked about an exponential growth of technology and information, which according to him will lead to an accelerated rate of innovation. He sees it as a technology avalanche – or you could see it as a wave. You either surf it or you get crushed under it. Evans says that nowadays the volume of information doubles every 11 hours, but less than ten years from now it will double every 11 seconds.[5] As data storage goes up and costs go down, and more people connect to the net and therefore have the best chance ever to get a good education, innovation will be seen in all areas of life.
Connectivity, then, is the springboard to change, which is bringing much higher participation from more countries, cultures and mentalities as boundaries fall. Connectivity is also about bridging borders, as technology makes information accessible to everyone almost everywhere. For a few years now I have been working with service providers from Argentina, Brazil, Turkey and India. I find they work faster, more cheaply and usually more reliably than European providers do. So why would I not take advantage of that?
But who is actually connected? Who is online? The answer is even more interesting than the question. Tracking global Internet usage I found that 2.4 billion people – around 34,3% of the world population – were online. Of those 44,8% are from Asia, 21,5% from Europe, 11,4% from North America, 10,6% fr...

Inhaltsverzeichnis