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Effective Personal Crisis Management:
Turning Financial Crisis into Opportunity

Dr. Hubert K. Rampersad

The current financial crisis is driving the world into a global recession. There is no job security now. Especially in times of financial crisis you need to be independent, become the CEO of your life and redefine yourself in order to create and attract new creative opportunities. This can be realized successfully according to an innovative four-stage authentic personal branding model, that will be introduced in this article. You can get yourself out of this crisis by re-brand and manage yourself effectively and by building, implementing and cultivating your authentic personal brand according to this model. If you are well branded according to this approach, you will master the financial crisis successfully, smartly save costs, generate new revenues, find it easier to convince others and attract the people and opportunities that are a perfect fit for you.

This new system will help you to actively grow and distinguish yourself as an exceptional professional. Remember what Albert Einstein said: "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity". Now is the best time to engage in a meaningful dialogue with yourself and build your personal brand in order to better master the financial crisis with your unique value proposition. This innovative personal branding approach will provide you a roadmap to translate your genius, dreams and aspirations into manageable improvement actions and will help you adjust your market offerings to the different crisis needs of various customer segments. Now during the crisis it is a great time to reposition yourself strongly in relation to your competitors, built a strong reputation, develop an effective image of yourself that you want to project in everything you do, and become more creative and innovative. While some individuals fight for survival, this financial crisis is an excellent opportunity for visionary people who like to differentiate themselves, set them apart from others, create an identity around themselves which makes it easier for others to remember who they are, become known as a thriving and distinguished professional and improve themselves continuously. They develop their own creative responses to this financial crisis instead of following the standard responses of individuals during a recession. They master the personal  financial crisis because they have identified and leveraged their authentic dream, respond to it with passion, know what make them unique, special, different and outstanding, identified their genius, expand their limits based on this, and have faith in themselves and the courage to pursue their dream and personal brand.

Four Stage Model to Master a Personal Financial Crisis: Building an authentic Personal Brand to response to the financial crisis is an evolutionary and organic process. This process consists of the following four phases, which are the building blocks of a strong authentic Personal Brand (see diagram)

1) Define and formulate your Authentic Personal Ambition; This phase involves defining and formulating your Personal Ambition in an exciting and persuasive manner and making it visible. Your Personal Ambition is the soul, starting point, core intention and the guiding principles of your Personal Brand. It’s the fuel for your brand and encompasses your personal vision, mission, and key roles. It is about developing your self-awareness and identifying yourself and figuring out what your dreams are, who you are, what you stand for, what makes you unique and special, why you are different than anyone, what your values are, and identifying your genius, incorporating an introduced breathing and silence exercise. You are almost twice as likely to accomplish your brand if you write this down. Your Personal Ambition makes your Personal Brand Personal and links this to your values.

2) Define and formulate your Authentic Personal Brand; This phase involves defining and formulating an authentic, distinctive, relevant, concise, meaningful, compelling, enduring, and crystal clear Personal Brand promise, and use it as the focal point of your behavior and actions. First of all, perform a personal SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) and evaluate yourself after using the breathing and silence exercise. This will also make you aware of the signs of the financial crisis in your internal and external environment. The result of SWOT analysis is the definition of your personal life style. This relates to your personal ambition and brand objectives. Your brand objectives entail what you want your Personal Brand to accomplish. You also need to determine your specialization, concentrating on a single core talent. Define your main specific services, your key characteristics your single leading and most powerful attribute. Finally, determine what your audience (domain) is and what their greatest needs are. Your Personal Brand Statement entails the total of your Personal Ambition, brand objectives, specialty, service dominant attribute, and domain. It also includes your Unique Value Proposition. The next step in this second stage is to define your Personal Brand Story (Elevator Pitch), which is the essence of what you want to say about your Personal Brand in order to produce a positive emotional reaction. Finally you should design your Personal Logo, which is a single graphical symbol that represents your Personal Brand.

3) Formulate your Personal Balanced Scorecard (PBSC); Personal Ambition and Personal Brand have no value unless you take action to make them a reality. Therefore the emphasis in this stage is developing an integrated and well balanced action plan based on your Personal Ambition and Personal Brand to reach your life and brand objectives and to eliminate any negative elements. It’s about translating your Personal Ambition and Personal Brand into your PBSC (action). Your PBSC entails your personal critical success factors that are related to your Personal Ambition and Brand and the corresponding objectives, performance measures, targets and prioritized improvement actions to master the crisis and to manage yourself effectively. It is also divided into the four perspectives: internal, external, knowledge & learning, and financial perspectives. Your PBSC translates your Personal Ambition and Personal Brand into manageable and measurable personal objectives, milestones and improvement actions in a holistic and balanced way. Your PBSC is needed to improve and manage yourself continuously based on your Personal Ambition and Brand. It’s an effective tool that you can use to manage and master yourself and monitor your behavior and actions.

4) Implement and cultivate your Personal Ambition, Personal Brand and Personal Balanced Scorecard; Personal Ambition, Personal Brand, and the PBSC have no value unless you implement them to make it a reality. Therefore the next step is to implement, maintain, and cultivate your ambition, brand and PBSC effectively. You have to articulate your Personal Brand with love and passion, be committed to change, and improve your perceived value in the marketplace and yourself continuously. In addition, try to build credibility and become an expert in your field. Get the word out through a variety of media channels, do work you love which is consistent with your Personal Brand and values, gain experience in areas of your brand in which you are weak, promote yourself, market your brand frequently and consistently, make conscious choices about the people you associate with, build a strong network, deliver on your brand promise, and in short live according to your brand promise. To guide you in this process a unique learning cycle called the Plan-Deploy-Act-Challenge cycle (PDAC cycle) have been introduced, which should be followed continuously. This is necessary to let your brand awareness grow gradually. This learning process will help you to become proactive, manage your time effectively, and anticipate on the crisis. The introduced breathing and silence exercises will help you calm down and regain control of your mind and body during the crisis.

This 4-stage model forms the key to master the financial crisis effectively. Through this approach you will also be able to make yourself and others happy on an ongoing basis.

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