Welcome to IC’s Leadership Brand Blog

How Your Personal Brand Evolves During The Three Critical Career Pivot Points

I was recently reading an article published in Kellog School of Management. They suggest that there are three key decision points, or “pivot points,” during a women's career. During these pivot points, women need to make decisions around career choices, goals, and trade-offs.

One such decision women will need to make throughout their career is centred around their personal brand. Our personal brand is not a static web page. As we make the executive transition our brand will evolve taking into account our experiences, passions and interests. It’s no secret that people trust people over companies. So regardless of where your career may take you, your personal brand will be one of the most valuable assets throughout your professional journey.

Let's explore the three pivot points and the role your personal brand may play.

1. The Launch (starting your career well in your 20s and early 30s)

Having run many Campus to Corporate programs as part of our on-boarding process for graduates, generally speaking millennials don't place much emphasis on their personal brand. When I discuss it with them, they often reply with, "Why should it matter what I look like"? Good question, Why should it matter? Isn't it more important to focus on the output? This was my thought process too when I started my corporate career. I was so focused on doing a great job and delivering that I didn't really spend any time thinking about how I was projecting. Luckily for me, dressing the part always came naturally.

The reality is that we all get judged within seconds. Rightly or wrongly this is simply what happens.

As human beings, we have a natural propensity to want to be around people we can relate to, who make us feel comfortable or people who are like us. Leaders naturally chose to surround themselves with people who reminded them of themselves. They feel more comfortable when they're surrounded by people who think like them because it reinforces that their judgments and behaviours are right - This is referred to as Affinity bias.

Question: Can your manager envisage you being promoted to the next level?

Strategy: This is a good time to observe and reflect. Look at others who are one or two levels above you and study them. How do they present themselves, are they consistent, is their brand aligned with their values and how they communicate?

Identify your key values and think about how you can demonstrate those through your actions, image, and how you communicate. Take the brave step to find out what others are thinking. It will help you to investigate and eliminate, any gaps between who you think you are, and how others see you. Then you can start to match your brand with your career goals. Be mindful of your digital footprint and remember you need to look like a leader long before you are one!

2. The Mid-Career Marathon (sustaining focus in your mid-30s and 40s)

This was an exciting and equally challenging time for me during my corporate career. I had to learn how to manage teams, manage up, manage down and somehow get work done amongst all those MEETINGS!

At this point in my career, I recognised the value of having a personal brand. By this stage, I was travelling globally with clients and colleagues, managing team members and working with global business teams. I had to step up and deliver on my brand promise which was to make things happen, always follow through and do it with positivity and energy.

One day the general manager called me into his office and asked me what I thought of the way employees were dressing. I was shocked that he had paid attention to this. At that very moment, I realised that I had a Personal Brand and that it was being noticed.

By this stage of your career, you've refined your communication skills, you have experience, and your level of confidence in your abilities is high.

Question: Have you mapped out your career plan? Is your personal brand built on purpose? Mapping out your career plan will further clarify your personal brand and you'll be able to consistently communicate it both verbally and visually.

Strategy: This is the investment phase. This is where quality over quantity investment pieces rings true. Seek out the services of a Personal Brand specialist / Image Consultant who can give you non-biased feedback on your visual and digital presence. This phase of your career will be hectic so having a wardrobe that is organised and aligned to your leadership image means no more decision fatigue or the possibility of missing opportunities for a promotion.

3. The Executive Transition (taking up the senior-leadership mantle in your late 40s, 50s, and beyond)

Advancement from the operational to the strategic level represents one of the most critical and challenging professional transitions a leader can make. Clearly, your personal brand has worked for you thus far. Most of my clients who are at this stage in their career are looking for unique eye-catching pieces that truly sets them apart. By this point, they have proven themselves, are confident and not afraid to be different.

Question: Have you found a great seamstress/designer? They can create unique pieces that you can't find in a retail store. Fit, fabrication, and quality reign supreme.

Strategy: This is the refinement stage. An Image Consultant can collaborate with you and the seamstress to design unique pieces for you that are in harmony with your colouring, shape, dressing style and personal brand. These pieces will help you command the stage, have your message heard and above all, showcase your brilliance.

If you'd like to learn more about our personal services, click here and book a time to speak with me.

Styling Your Success


Personal Brand Training For Leaders

Your Personal Brand Is Inescapable. For Better Or Worse -- Every Leader Has One.

The second we meet someone we are deciding if you like them, trust them if they are capable and intelligent?

I do it, you did it, we all do it. 

Is it virtually impossible not to form an opinion about someone? 

And let's be honest, we also know clothing choices affect and reflect a leader's self-image and how they feel about themselves.

As human beings, if we have a positive reaction to someone we then subconscious start to notice and listen to other positive things about this person. We then take this information and use it to support our first impression which backs up our intuition. 

Psychologists call this snap decision making “thin slicing”. 

So why is Personal Brand development for leaders more important now than ever before? 

One of the biggest shifts in workplace culture over the past ten years has been how we dress in the office. For the majority of organisations, the two piece suit has been banished and replaced with smart separates.

Whilst professional women are relishing the freedom to choose clothing that better fits their personal brand, it's also come with some decision fatigue and stress. They are constantly trying to find the balance between dressing in separates while still maintaining a sense of credibility.

Our personal branding programs are designed to uncover the values and purpose of leaders and help them dress, speak and behave in a way that is guided by their values. This approach allows them to make decisions and interact with those they lead in a consistent way. Their inner compass and “WHY” guides their daily actions and enables them to earn the trust of their team members, peers and stakeholders.

For the past ten years, we've partnered with top tier organisations around the country such as Ernst & Young, Westpac, Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, Toyota, Novartis, Roche, Australian Institute Of Company Directors, Sanofi, Stockland and many more and have delivered over 300 personal branding workshops for:

  • Internal talent development programs
  • Women's leadership programs and forums
  • Internal and external networking events
  • Onboarding programs for graduates
  • Sales team/management meetings and conferences

During this time we have also styled over 3000 professional women for success. What I know to be true is that when women dress to reflect who they really are, their confidence skyrockets and that's when they do your best work. When a woman is confident she can truly transform a situation, a thought, a discussion, a result. 

Take a look at some of the personal branding workshops we've conducted recently.

Our workshops are designed to help leaders bring who they are to what they do and how they do it and then presenting and communicating that with authenticity and confidence. Women no longer want to leave their "real" selves in the car park before walking through the front doors of the office. 

So how can authentic personal brand development better skill leaders? What are the benefits to the individual and the business?

Organisations who embrace diversity and empower employees to bring their whole self to work increase the attraction, retention and engagement level to the organisation.

Leaders who operate with an authentic personal brand instil trust and credibility so they can deliver results through others; supporting, directing, coaching and leading their team to continually maximise performance. When leaders perform at their best, so will their team(s).

If you'd like to learn more about our corporate personal branding workshops for leaders, click here and book a click here and book a 15-minute conversation with Janette.

If you'd like a copy of our workshop brochure, please send me an e-mail, janette@imageconsultants.com.au

Styling Your Success



Autumn Style Staples For The Professional Woman

If you're anything like me I'm welcoming Autumn with open arms. Having barely survived a horrendous summer in Sydney, I'm looking forward to layering up this Autumn / Winter. 

Winter is approaching and while some of you are probably still in denial about the departure of summer - it's the perfect chance to refresh your winter wardrobes and curate stylish cold-weather outfits that are fit for any office.

With every new season, clients always want to know: 

  • What are the new trends
  • Do they suit my dressing style
  • How can I integrate them into my existing wardrobe

So let's take a look at what's on offer this Autumn/ Winter 2017 and if these trends are right for you.

1. Structure

This trend suits a woman with a dressing style personality that is classic, dramatic and alluring. A sleeveless structured dress can be easily layered with a silk blouse or alternatively, it can be worn with a tailored blazer teamed with boots and tights. There are many structured long line vests that can easily integrate with work trousers or with jeans on the weekend.

2. Softness

This trend suits a woman with a dressing style personality that is feminine and classic 
Silk seems to be the fabric of choice this season. The softness of a silk blouse always looks great when teamed with a structured piece such as a sleeveless vest or leather jacket. By the way, the red dress from Scanlan & Theodore is divine when teamed with black or navy knee high suede boots.

3. Natural

This trend suits a woman with a dressing style personality that is natural sporty, classic or feminine. From experience, I have found that women with a summer seasonal profile really appreciate natural fibres such as cashmere and silk. They appreciate the smoothness of the fabric against their sensitive skin. Cashmere sweaters are also showcasing on a bigger scale this year. They are great to team with all your big ticket pieces such as pants, skirts, coats and jeans.

4. Colours

Monochrome step aside for some unpredictable brights. Think fuchsia, red, lavender, military greens, metallic shines, midnight blues and spicy mustard. My advice is to always have your personal colours assessed first before you venture out and start spending large amounts on pieces in the wrong colours.

Just remember that as a professional woman your style and personal brand is an opportunity to tell others who you are and where you're going, without compromise. 

So don't buy any piece that doesn't truly reflect the real you. 

Click here to schedule a complimentary 15-minute call and learn how I can help you create a personal brand that makes you feel confident and tells the world where you are going.

Let's together close the leadership gap.

Styling Your Success


P.S If you'd like to nail your Personal Brand, come and join me and 20 other professional women at the #1Styling + Branding event for professional women. Click here to register.

How Affinity Bias Impacts Your Personal Brand And Potential For Promotion

You're at your hot desk working away in your completely open plan office space.

I want you to look around, what do you see? What are other women wearing? What is your boss wearing? Anyone wearing a suit? You see a colleague and think how great she looks. You're wondering how she managed to put together ad hoc pieces and make it look so effortless.

One of the biggest shifts in workplace culture over the past ten years has been how we dress in the office.

For some of you, I know that dressing in separates has created a dilemma that you face every single morning but I urge you to see this new way of dressing as an opportunity to craft a signature style that will get you noticed for all the right reasons. 

Think about this: A woman working in a corporate job will spend almost half of her waking life in ‘workwear’ – and possibly more. That's staggering!!!

We’re now free to present a new image of what leadership looks like and now have significantly more options for expressing ourselves on a daily basis. If you'd like to learn about our workshop on how to fuse work wear with weekend wear, click here. 

While we don't have a standard work outfit like men, this can work for and against us; we have more freedom in what we wear, however, this also means our outfit choice can influence how we’re perceived in the work environment. For example, a lack of effort can be seen as sloppy and unprofessional and anything too risqué can impact your credibility. 

So what role does "Affinity Bias" play in how you create your personal brand and your potential for a promotion?

As human beings, we have a natural propensity to want to be around people we can relate to, who make us feel comfortable or people who are like us. Leaders naturally chose to surround themselves with people who reminded them of themselves. They feel more comfortable when they're surrounded by people who think like them because it reinforces that their judgments and behaviours are right - A great example of unconscious bias.

On one hand, we are told to embrace diversity and dress in a way that expresses our personal brand and on the other hand the powers that be have their own idea of how one should dress to the office. Given what we know about "affinity bias" how can you still dress in a way that reflects the real you whilst signaling to your boss you're ready for the next big opportunity?

Ultimately the way to navigate this conundrum is to be cognisant of dressing appropriately for the situation, others expectations, your objectives, their objectives and your ultimate end goal.

If you’d like to learn the techniques that will help you create a style and personal brand that supports your professional goals then come along to the “The Art of Self Packaging For Success". Come and learn how to master the NEW way women are dressing for work.

It's taking place on the 25.03.17 at the Sydney Westfield Styling Suite

Here is some unseen footage from previous events.

The techniques I will be teaching you I have taught during my corporate workshops and I know they work because my clients have used them with great results. My clients are now primed and ready for their next career step, their laser focused on their message and goals and don’t have to give their image and personal brand a second thought. They have invested the time to get this right so that all their energy now goes into preparing for that promotion or landing their dream client. 

Click here to reserve your seat. Only a few seats remaining!

I hope to see you at the #1 Styling + Branding Event for Professional Women & Entrepreneurs.

Styling Your Success
Janette x

P.S Part of your ticket is redeemable towards a personal service and you will receive complimentary half hour speaker appearance by Janette Ishiyama in your organisation (more information at the workshop).

What It Means To A Woman To Feel Confident

My deep desire for encouraging women and helping them find their inner confidence has always been my calling even though I only fully recognised that ten years ago. Every time I see a client, I'm reminded of the need and responsibility to lift each other up.

Today more than ever women need to come together and back each other. We've read about gender inequality in the workplace, we've seen the diminishing number of women in senior leadership roles and we've witnessed first-hand the gender pay gap. We can't sit on the sidelines anymore.

For many years I've been searching for a not-for-profit organisation that I'd like to partner with that helps empower women in some capacity.

Over the course of several years, many signs have been sent to me about #dressforsuccesssydney and I knew that it was time to listen to the whispers. Here is an organisation that brings Fashion and Women together - my two passions - PERFECT!

A few weeks ago, I went to an information session for #dressforsuccesssydney and was blown away by the work and commitment this not-for-profit organisation has in helping women re-enter the job market; from styling them, providing mentoring sessions, to hosting mock job interviews, money management tips, goal setting and many more things. I had goosebumps as I listened to the women's stories below. These women have left #dressforsuccesssydney feeling inspired, supported, worthy and confident.

Please watch this video

As a woman, you know the role that "confidence" plays in your life. You know that having someone back you gives you that additional motivation to overcome challenges. You also know the power clothing has in giving you the confidence to step forward and step up.

As today marks International Women's Day please consider donating 1 hour of your pay for "Empower Hour" at Dress For Success Sydney. There are also lots of other ways you can help. You can donate gently used, nearly-new professional attire or by offering your time as a volunteer to empower women in your community - click here. Let's together donate the gift of CONFIDENCE.

With our support, Dress For Success Sydney can continue providing services that inspire women to take charge of their lives.

I can't wait to serve these women and be witness to them finding their voice, grow into their potential and above all step out into the world knowing they are worthy.

Styling Your Success


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