NCS — I saw two different guys running in Hyde Park this morning. One, older, knees together, shuffling along as if in his own (unrecognised) Olympic sport. Happy as a clam. The other was striding along in a sleeveless vest looking down to see how his biceps look when he runs. He had a face like thunder. They are like two kinds of public personas.
Nowadays I find it quite hard to figure out where your ‘public’ job starts and your real life ends. I know how it works for me. It’s a line a tread carefully and not always successfully, but I’ve been there a lot.
However for many executives it’s an uncomfortable issue. CEOs and Management Teams need to be comfortable with their faces being displayed in Annual Reports and on websites. They are part of the business’ assets. Like posher sales people, who need to put themselves ‘out there’ to become the face of their product.
But how far out? And what happens when you start to love it?
There are always cases like Richard Branson, Donald Trump, Alan Sugar and others who are actually more famous than their brands. And there are others who aspire to be, but sometimes come up short, like Gerald Ratner, Carly Fiorina or Arianna Huffington. There are certainly lots of people available to point out the deficiencies and the schadenfreude when it all goes horribly wrong.
However, at other times, like in our recent Social Media at Work video, which is still running strong and gaining viewers, the time invested in putting on a public face seems worthwhile.
How can you tell what is right and what is wrong?
It might just be a question of style and level of ambition. I like this for example:
But I find these a bit too much:
They just don’t look that comfortable. Like they’re in a French new wave cinema picture.
However, that is still preferable to these ones:
It seems to say: “We’ve come to steal your calculator.”
Finding the balance between public and private persona has never been harder than now. Access to information can make everyone’s life an open book. But you can be open and honest and still choose which pages people will look at.