Sensitivity Should Only Be About Your Teeth, Not Your Personal Brand!
My husband is a dentist. So I get to listen to many conversations about “sensitivity” regarding teeth. The good news is that sensitivity of your teeth is often curable and does NOT impact your personal brand.
However, lately my company has been running into sensitivity that does impact people’s personal and business brands. The kind of sensitivity that I’m speaking of is where people are offended and bitter about the type of things that make the rest of their business colleagues stop and scratch their heads and wonder, “what is up with him/her?” This type of response can only be the start of a poor personal brand perception.
I’ve unfortunately got many examples, but one sticks out in my mind sadly. This example involved a colleague for whom I have much respect. This colleague is big on lunch networking. We had a lunch appointment set for me to meet him and a person he was going to introduce me to. About two weeks before the scheduled lunch, two of my client meetings shifted to where there was a time conflict. So at this point, I had to decide whether to meet with my clients or meet him for lunch. I emailed and called him and apologized, explained the situation and explained that I needed to change the lunch date. I also emphasized that none of this meant he/lunch was not important, but clients had to come first. Well, he took offense and said he felt second-best and refused to talk to me. I was shocked and spent time trying to fix the situation.
At some point I gave up and accepted his response. I respect his position and disagree with it. However, and more importantly, I wonder if he’s going around town with this heightened sensitivity. I also wonder how prospects and clients take to it.
Anytime you come across sensitive to the point where colleagues/prospects either: 1) walk on eggshells around you or 2) don’t want to do business with you, then you’ve set your personal brand perception, and thus your business/job prospects, up for failure. If people have to deal with you ignoring them or snubbing them,then they will likely avoid you and your business.
So next time a business colleague upsets you, please stop and think about whether you are acting in proportion to their “guilty” action. Stop and put yourself in their shoes. Maybe you wouldn’t respond the same, but is the situation worth possibly ruining your personal brand and jeopardizing your business brand/referral sources? Also, please don’t give some fake response to them pretending like you are “ok” with everything and then sulk quietly or worse, gossip about them.
My suggestion is to be honest and up front with them, forgive, forget and move on to more positive personal brand building possibilities for you and your business.