Friday, October 31, 2008

Personal branding for success

Learning & Innovation – November 1, 2008

By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM


Personal branding for success


On the furor over the $150,000 campaign wardrobe of US vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, focus is on the disconnect between what Palin says who she is and what she does or wears.


And this brings us to the topic of brands.  Bo Seifert, CEO of Herrmann Scandinavia Ltd. informs:  Branding as means of communication has survived the last 5 millenniums. In 4000 BC stone cutters were already carving their own 'trade-marks' into

Egyptian temples and buildings. This served two purposes:  1) To establish and give credit to the craftsmen and also as "advertisements" for future work. And 2) To establish a type of guarantee.


If something happened to the building the persons responsible could be brought to justice, which in those days could mean death and therefore had an influence on the overall quality.  Your name also established you as a Brand, and it is only in the last 500 years that behaviour and preference has become more important than an individual's

name. Consequently, Mr. Andersson was the Son of Anders, and names often

described a person's trade, such as "Goldsmith" or "Taylor".  Today we consume Brands, drive branded cars, eat at branded restaurants, shop at branded stores, pay with branded credit cards and drink branded beer. In short we live Branded Lives.


Nowadays if your brand carries the label "Made in China," I doubt if you could sell anything, especially food items.


Now I know this beautiful, hardworking lady who could help you develop your personal brand.  If you want to look, say professional, you need to look, smell, taste, feel, sound professional.  Miselle PeƱalosa-Bergonia trained in Hongkong at Image Work Asia with London Image Institute and heads her Icon Image Consulting (Tel 0918-9075383 or 02-7433691 or email


She used to be Business Development Manager of Shangri-la Hotels & Resorts where she proved that first impression and client relations spell the difference between success and mediocrity.


She says, "When you project good first impression, you are conceived to be credible and you can easily service client needs.  Also, Shangri-la is a brand that I needed, as an employee then, to authentically represent."


So now, Misel is helping professionals imbibe the image of their organizations or family; align their personal preferences to the image of their organization and create their unique brand while they carry their organization's brand.


Misel does this through customizing workshops on sense of self, proper grooming, power dressing, non-verbal communications, effective use of color and texture, personal hygiene and skin care, business etiquette, presentation skills to help develop personal style and represent the brand values of their organization or family.


"Your self image is a projection of what you will become in the future; it is an audition for your future career.  If you look lousy, your work is expected to be also lousy.  Conversely, if you look smart, your work is perceived to be well done.


More tips from Miselle:  You can make an ordinary shift dress look powerful by topping it with a trendy blazer.  Always come to work like you are meeting your boss for the first time.  In terms of color, if you are feeling gloomy, use bright colors and if you want to project intelligence, power and leadership, choose deeper and muted colors, like navy blue, blue-gray, maroon or burgundy.  Beiges are neutral and luckluster and must be perked up with occasion-relevant accessories.  Personal style doesn't mean that you should be following the trends of fashion, but it is finding pieces that you are most comfortable with and accessories that will add a statement to your outfit and reflect your personal values and personality.  What looks good on other people would not necessarily look good on you.  Always try on clothes, shoes, accessories before buying.  When you find your personal style, be consistent so this becomes your signature look and you would be remembered long after for this look.  However, every year try to update so that you don't become outdated and stuck to a certain era.,

Thursday, October 23, 2008

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Screen out potential "white collar" felons

Learning & Innovation – October 11, 2008

By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM


Screen out potential "white collar" felons


I believe that the recent cases of governments' bailout of the financial fallout in their country will not solve their problems.  But it could buy them time to come up with long-term solutions while taking care of their short-term needs and, hence, will refocus the minds of their constituents, investors and others into a problem-solving mode rather than a fault-finding one.  They need to be determined in their mission to rid their business sector of felons and, in the long run, develop real leaders to run their business, government, educational and spiritual institutions.


I also believe that decision-makers—government leaders and regulators, lawmakers, business board of directors, executive councils, management committees, individual executives and managers, and others—who  made all those horrendous speculative  decisions should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.  Or they will serve as role models for future felons.  They should get at the perpetrators of the blatant transgressions of the values of honesty, integrity and sincerity and the erosion of the very fiber of their humanity if they want a lasting solution. 


All of these government and business leaders started somewhere in the ranks or middle management level until they reached the top.  Likewise, the threat to workplace security comes almost always from within and the offenders seem like "average" persons.  


And that brings me back to the book Crisis Leadership Now by Laurence Barton.  Barton suggests that one place we could start in preventing crisis is at the time of screening and selecting a prospective employee.   He asserts that organizations need to be vigilant and committed to corporate security in all its dimensions, including physical detection of threats to the company's intellectual property,  Some unethical companies are notorious for hiring rogue contractors or employees to steal valuable information on sales leads, production numbers, pending patents, cash flow or others.


From the point of view of a people manager, every new employee is a probable company president.  You can never tell.  Given the inspiration, the opportunity and the proper nurturing any one can successfully climb the corporate ladder.  And they might have that streak of meanness in them from the very start and the "mission" (well thought out and planned) to commit crimes.


So what do we look for in a job applicant?  Barton writes that after you have interviewed a candidate several times and have a sense of how well their personality will mesh with your company's culture, one of the most prudent next steps is ensuring that they are who they say they are—simple identity verification is not sufficient.  He says that if you really want to gain a more complete picture of an individual, validate their true name, verify their credentials—educational background, employment history, etc.—and verify the any record that might hide a checkered financial past.  It is also prudent to verify any history of "white collar" fraud and crimes such as substance abuse, domestic violence, simple assault, child abuse or neglect, DUI and others.


To further secure your workplace from internal menace, Barton advises that you check if the applicant has a genuine physical address or is living in a temporary residence.  It will also help, he says, to check if he had lapses in employment.  The lapse could indicate that the person was caring for an aging parent, but it could also correlate to time spent in a correctional institution.  Ask your clinically trained specialist to observe for warning signs of depression, anger and hostility.


There is a need to push for high standards in the hiring process to screen out potential problem employees.  Smart hiring is a preventative crisis management.  As Barton writes, "worry less about credentials and look at life as a mosaic."  As proven again and again, one employee or one group of employees could easily bring down their entire organization and their country.;

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Reacting or proacting to a world in turmoil

Learning & Innovation – October 4, 2008
By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM

Reacting or proacting to a world in turmoil

I am not scaring you, I am making you focus since all these things have happened and are still happening. The whole world is reeling from different forms of natural and man-made crises, such as, but not limited to:
• Global economic meltdown?
• Earthquake measuring 8+ on the Richter scale
• Collapse of structurally-deficient buildings?
• Defective or contaminated products
• Bacteria, germs or virus from farm products and produce, e.g. SARS
• Stampede by over-excited crowds
• Massive leak from insensible processes, e.g. Chernobyl nuclear plant
• Damages to food sources
• Domestic and international terrorism
• Street crimes
• Sinking domestic passenger ships and ferries
• Shootings or bombings in crowded places
• Corruption and fraud in government and business
• Theft of credit card data
• Vehicle crash in busy streets
• Road rage
• Injury or death to employees due to engineering/systems defects
• Powerful typhoons, twisters
• Gangs clash
• Fire, flood and tsunami
• Management complicity in business scandals
• Massive heat or cold wave
• Sudden death of leading business or government leaders
• Cancer, AIDS, and other dreaded diseases
• Miners trapped
• Mental and nervous breakdowns
• Counterfeit products
• Currency devaluation
• Extended loss of electricity or water
• Workplace violence
• Employee sabotage
• Rape
• And many others.

Some or all of these have seriously affected our social, family, political, business and spiritual life.

In his book Crisis Leadership Now (McGraw-Hill, 2008), author Laurence Barton advises to keep in mind that most crises are defined by four basic questions. "These are the ones that haunt business leaders after a crisis has rocked their organizations: What did you know? When did you know it? What did you do about it? What are you going to do to ensure that it never happens again?" Barton lists, at least, 50 actual crises that have impacted whole communities of employees, shareholders, neighbors, and the media.

What about you? How do you manage crisis? How do you recognize and interpret the various signals that appear on your radar screen? What did you learn? Firstly, do you have a crisis management plan? A radar screen?

Barton includes a 40-page crisis management plan and suggests ten action steps: Make your enterprise an unattractive target. Revise employee screening processes. Validate business, community and government contacts. Assess business continuity plan. Train and educate your workforce. Equip your workforce. Review leases and contracts for risk exposure. Assess value-chain exposure to supply disruptions, Review insurance policies and conduct cost/benefit analysis. Communicate commitment.

To my happy surprise, Davao seems to be a very safe place to live and do business in. Crime rate is very low, construction is in full swing, the city seem to be active 24/7, there are new and modern facilities and infrastructure to support business, health and wellness, education, social and spiritual life. One negative is that there are not enough (or are there groups hiding them) baggage carts at the airport, but they suddenly appear when you hire a porter. Immediately you form a bad impression as you enter the city. Fortunately I spent enough time in Davao to appreciate the place and its people better. Thanks to my hosts, Ruth and Jojo Agullo and their children Sofia and Enrique.;