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In the simplest terms, management history can be seen as a journey from engineering to marketing.

Initially, management only cared about the engineering aspects of work. Planning, designing, measuring, and timing.

The human being was seen in these terms. You were either (a) a cog in the machine, evaluated in terms of your physical ability or (b) the engineer doing the managing, evaluated in terms of your intellectual ability.

Emotion had nothing to do with it. A century later and it’s everywhere. We are supposed to passionately believe in the company and its products. Employ emotional intelligence as a core part of our personal success strategy. Appeal to the emotions of employers by branding ourselves. And give them our emotional self in return.

Yes. It’s Marketing 101. Appeal to a person’s emotions. Get them to internalize the values surrounding your brand. And you have them for life.

What does this mean for you and your personal brand?

1. Culture Fit

Culture became the thing in the 1980s. It’s “the way we do things around here.” Nowadays, it is almost impossible to find an organization that doesn’t sell its culture as being somehow special. And vital for the organization’s success. You need to fit in. So, do your research on how an organization wants you to behave. Does it fit with how you see yourself? Can you adjust to its expectations? Or is it completely wrong for you?

2. Personal Engagement

Research suggests that it is vital to your ongoing wellbeing to be doing jobs that you can emotionally engage with. You have a “preferred self”, the version of you that you most want to be or become. If you can’t be that self at work, it will be stressful and psychologically harmful. Can you bring such a self to the organization? If not, work out how to brand your working self so it matches your preferred self and looks for a job that enables it.

3. Emotional Intelligence

This is the degree to which you understand your own emotional reactions to things. The goal is to learn to manage your emotions so you can respond appropriately to the events that trigger them. The problem is that in emotionally charged environments, it becomes psychologically tiring to continuously deliberately manage them. You burn out or snap. If you continually require cognitive effort to control your emotions in your job, it might not be the best fit for you.

4. Purpose and Passion

In 2010, Simon Sinek wowed TEDx with a talk on selling the way of an organization. Using Apple as an example, he illustrated how people bought more stuff when they could identify with the purpose of the company’s existence. However, working towards a purpose can be difficult to achieve in large, complex organizations, when it is unclear how your job impacts the whole.

Are you working for an organization because you have a passion for its purpose? Or are you looking for a specific role that provides purpose and meaning for you?

Very different things and you should brand yourself around the one that interests you.

5. Trust

In the old days, you did what a manager told you to do because management was an “engineered science”. Theoretically anyway. Nowadays, with emotions, purpose, and culture involved, we need to trust that our manager has our best interests at heart. And that is not easy. We often hear that people leave their managers, not the company. It is becoming increasingly important to show that you can engender trust. So find ways to do so.

So, there you have it. Five forces driving our organizations forward. Hopefully, this brief blog has helped you better understand them. And give you a few ideas on how to position yourself in a market that takes them very seriously.


Written By
Richard is a management researcher, consultant, speaker, coach, and original thinker. His work and research help businesses meet the novel challenges of a complex world. He examines how people handle the complexity and ambiguity of modern organisational life and how original thought emerges in changing and uncertain environments. He shows how 'change resistance' is often 'authentic engagement' driven by emerging new data about organisational reality and displayed through humour and irony.

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