Jon Michail's Personal Branding Masterclass

Street-Smart Wisdom for Leaders - Part 2

June 22, 2023 Season 2 Episode 88
Jon Michail's Personal Branding Masterclass
Street-Smart Wisdom for Leaders - Part 2
Show Notes Transcript

In the second episode of the series "STREET-SMART WISDOM FOR LEADERS...or in other words, what Harvard Business School does NOT teach you", Jon discussed the dynamic combination of street-smarts, political savviness, emotional intelligence, and innovation, and how they intertwine to propel leaders to unprecedented success. Don't miss out on this game-changing episode! 

Do you want Jon's help to elevate your personal brand? Get in touch here:


Let's connect:

Twitter: @jon_michail
Instagram: @imagegroupinternational

Podcast Editor and Producer: Ana Carolina Alves 

Additional Voice: Charles The Voice 

Music: Have a Smoke by Crowander (CC BY 4.0)


Review Jon Michail's Personal Branding Masterclass in Apple Podcasts to let us know what you think of the show:

Welcome to Jon Michail’s Personal Branding Masterclass. Jon is the founder and CEO of image group international, an award-winning image consulting and personal branding pioneer established in 1989. This podcast will bring you old-school wisdom, inspiring ideas, strategies and hacks for the new tech world. Here you will learn everything about personal branding: the system, the techniques and the right mindset to have a successful personal brand, image and reputation.

Hello, everybody, and thank you for being here. This is the second episode of our series streetsmart wisdom for leaders. In other words, what Harvard Business School does not teach you. In this episode, we unlock the secrets behind effective leadership delving into the dynamic combination of street smarts, political savviness, emotional intelligence. And of course, innovation will then cover up, of course, briefly how these elements intertwine to create a powerful force that propels leaders to new heights of success. Of course, everything we share with you on this podcast is not designed to be the panacea or everything. But definitely, it's designed to at least spark interest in you in some new possibilities by doing things differently. So let's get started. Leadership, as we all know, is not just about having the right knowledge and technical skills, it also requires the emotional intelligence and a street smart approach that combines curiosity and practical wisdom to understand the world around us. And of course, we know that the world around us is changing dramatically. So you know, it's an essential element to have as part of your, what I would call toolbox, if you've been paying attention, you know, the things have changed in your life, for better or for worse, certainly in the last few years. And even if you have not thought about it, or worse, have been living in the now with it, it's okay, everyone's out where they're at. Important thing here is to always question, are you willing to adapt and transform along the way with all the changes happening, of course, in society, in the environment, in business, etc, and, of course, on a local level are communities. So it's up to us as leaders, entrepreneurs, changemakers, to adapt and thrive, what I would call these, this changing environment. As someone who has worked with leaders, organizations and businesses on their personal and business brand, 34 years. I can confidently say that street smarts are often more important than book smarts. And I want to prove that to you in different ways. Now, of course, if you're conditioned to think more papers on your wall, diplomas on your wall is really what makes it, that's fine. That's a you're entitled to that opinion. And of course, we're all conditioned to believe that. Having said that, we know that, you know, that's not going to make much difference. If you have to basically recreate repurpose yourself, and of course adapt in the changing world that we're in. And that includes also business. So what you need is an awareness beyond what you've already been taught. I'm not saying don't continue down, down that trap, because I actually love education myself, but it's actually way beyond that it's a more holistic approach to your life, as opposed to one side. And that really, education is more about memory, and recall, as opposed to really deep curiosity, wisdom, it's so anyway, without getting further into that conversation. For obvious reasons, street smarts are often underplayed. We know that because when you were in school, remember, as an example, how much were you ever taught about emotional intelligence ever? How much were you ever told about relationship building, or wealth, and, of course, money in the concept of what that means in your life long term, a lot of these things are underplayed if not mentioned at all. So as you get obviously more mature, more older, more curious and curious, is a very important word here, you start to discover other things. And of course, that's happened with me, it's happened with a lot of our big clients. And of course, it's something that's been shared with many, many people that I've met over the years. So I suppose the aspect that we're talking about here around you know, emotional intelligence in this moment, and especially street smarts is that it can give you the engine challenging and changing economy, but it doesn't matter. If you're in the corporate world or an entrepreneur way anyway, from a professional point of view, or even a non for profit, for that matter. It matters for everybody. 

One of the reasons street smarts are underplayed is that we are all conditioned to live our lives in fear. And of course, my also through that lack than the will to adapt because as you get conditioned, it's very hard then to change. We all know that. So then we become what we call is the metaphorical deer in headlights. And when that happens, you do not win. Certainly, because like the deer who actually wins, it's normally the hunter right? Okay, so you don't want to become the metaphorical deer in headlights, you know, certainly feel the deer. Now, the key here is how do we change all that quickly? And are we open it to new ways to think, if you're not open to ways of think if you haven't got a growth mindset, if you haven't even got basically a neutral mindset, as opposed to a negative mindset that always looked at the worst, then possibly, this is going to be very difficult for you, you know, so as a typical half glass full type of guy, I would see the positivity, I would see the possibilities in most things. Having said that doesn't mean that you can't be curious enough to also see the negativity of that. And that's what I'm talking about here. And this is also where critical thinking skills come into play. Another crucial aspect to explore is the difference between being politically savvy as opposed to a political animal. Now, it's essential to clarify this misconception, as somebody that's walk that's worked in the corporate world for a long time. politically savvy doesn't mean compromising your values, or engaging in unethical or what we call his win lose tactics. Instead, it means understanding the power dynamics within your business. And of course, the bigger businesses, the more politics in my experience, industry organization and leveraging that knowledge, you know, that insight to build relationships to influence others, and of course, achieve your goals. So it's about being a steward without sacrificing your integrity. And this is the key here. And in reference to leadership, how this all matters? Well, you know, a smart leader, a savvy leader understands at times, they have to be politically savvy. But the leader that plays political games to win just for the sake of playing the games, including potentially playing political games, or dividing from a Machiavellian point of view their teams is a dangerous leader, we would call that a toxic leader. And I'm sure if you've worked in, you know, large organizations, you would have come across that in your career. 

So let's discuss the intriguing concept of the official narrative now, as opposed to the unofficial narrative in practice. This happens, of course, in business, government, politics, the media, and of course, the education sector, among others. As a leader, you need to be savvy, we've already established that your intuition, of course, comes into play part of emotional intelligence, and to gauge what's actually said, as opposed to what's unsaid. So for instance, you're reading in the news, right now you're reading in some magazine, or you're, you're watching some sort of podcast or, or a video on YouTube. Normally, what's important is to look at what the answer is, as opposed to what the said, because what happens here is, the set of times could be part of the spin game, you got to pick exactly what's not being said. And generally, you'll find that more in authentic communication strategies as opposed to scripted, all in that case, anything that's like a talking head on television, especially the news, you know, that's just read, as opposed to the authenticity of the impromptu aspect of ideas that would come out of the present, as opposed to something that's just plan to sell a message and just keep it at that. So you got to go looking for that. Now. That's what St. smartlace comes into play. And of course, if you've been studying, also communication skills, like, you know, I have for a long time, also what comes into play this propaganda, and the whole concept of manipulation and how language is used to manipulate. Also, you need to better understand how this impacts then also your personal business brand leadership activities. Moving forward is, especially if you've got teams as well, this is essential, because it's your responsibility as a leader, to also communicate some of these possibilities to your team, of course, without scaring them off, because obviously, you know, there is the concept, believe it or not, you can't teach children what they're not ready to hear. And I am using that metaphorically, it's crucial to recognize what is officially communicated might not always align with the reality on the ground. Of course, a perfect example of that is war. A government would say one thing is happening in a particular war, and something else has happened on the ground and just being drastic in the in the example there. But it happens also in very simple examples. Everyday, for instance, from a societal point of view, prices go up in the supermarket. You know, there's a reason for that, but there might be another reason in reality, so that's the examples I'm talking about. Just remember the reality of the world. You cannot separate the role of money and power behind indecision made in the halls of influence. It's just a it's it's how it works. And yes, surprise, surprise, people misled or misinformed, or worse lie. We're not surprised, right? We all you know, if we if you've lived on the planet long enough, you would have seen a lot of evidence of that so it's not like I'm making it up. Some like pain. It's tension to the unofficial narrative, the unspoken truths, the omissions, we gain a deeper understanding of the dynamics at play, why this is essential, this is essential for your wealth building opportunities. So if you're from the perspective of your career long term, you got to understand some of that. And of course, it could also play into your health, when the other family issue that you might not even have considered how that could impact in that particular area from a personal perspective. So you're going to be thinking about this in all areas. And of course, it actually gives you gives you information that then you can make informed choices, all the sudden increase the rate of the success of your choice, as prior. Although the dynamics might be out of your control, they will always give you the insights and of course, opportunities then to make those new choices moving forward. This new awareness enables us to execute ideas that we might have not considered before, for example, craft that communications regarding also our personal business brand with the authenticity and that the ability that people crave for.

So finally, I'd like to share the final section of today. And that's on innovation and creativity. Research done by PwC in 2017, showed that 85% of CEOs feel that innovation is a major factor for the growth of their company. So the same survey also showed that 75% of customers said innovation influenced the personal decision, with 59% of consumers willing to pay a premium for products and services that are innovative, and creative. Now, this is really interesting. This is especially critical for anyone listening that's in small business, SMEs, startups, and of course, personal brands. Why because it's generic for initiation in being innovative and creative. Now, remember to be innovative and creative, you got to be courageous. So if you lack courage, okay, there's no innovation or creativity in my experience. So you're going to have some courage that and what that means is, we encourage the creative spirit to of course, innovative thinking, because businesses that can implement, you know some of this and take it on board, from an internal initiatives, including that workshops, brainstorming sessions into the deeper departmental competitions, hackathons, etc. Always come out better if done with a system, and of course, an outcome in mind as a person just ad hoc. So they can also provide that savings with the technology and resources that help them to remain creative, and take advantage of industry advancements. So if you're not open to that, right now, obviously, a stainless steel, stainless steel in our world means you're going backwards. So a great example, other than the human potential, of course, is also using the integration of new technology. Additionally, businesses should have an open door policy, and allow their team members to explore ideas and collaborate, you know, they should consider it what we call is a dare to fail mindset. Even more, so if they're facing challenges, because what that does is at least open up the opportunity to go out there and create. Now of course, I don't mean, you know, you go to the point of you're jumping off the cliff. That's not the datafile mindset I'm talking about. But certainly you need you need it, Alice, this city, to encourage people to go for it. So by setting up an open, encouraging environment, as opposed to a closed because you already know what that feels like. Businesses can certainly foster a culture of innovation, creativity, that certainly happens with the companies we work with, including individuals. Because when you have that as part of your way of being things change for the better, it's just the way it is because that's what creating does as opposed to staying the same. When done correctly. innovation, creativity can result certainly in customer satisfaction, increased sales, better engagement, and of course, improved profitability, and in the times we're entering with challenges will be coming up around profitability. This is not only about just you know, staying in business, but also being profitable. So with an empowered and creative team business that can stand apart from the competitors, and definitely keep ahead of the game. Before we wrap up, just know that our team of experts is here to help you with your personal business brand. As always, we don't believe in one size fits all solutions. Instead, we will tailor your coaching program to your specific needs and aspirations. So if you're ready to take a person business brand to the next level, and unleash your full potential, call us. If you'd like to connect with me and continue the conversation I invite you to reach out on social media. You can find me on Twitter as John underlined Michael on LinkedIn was John Michael and on Facebook as image Group International. I want to thank you all for being here today and I look forward to seeing you next week. Cheerio

Jon Michail’s Personal Branding Masterclass" Podcast is sponsored by Image Group International, a global team of practical, digitally savvy personal brand and image strategists based in Australia, committed to maximizing your impact, influence and authority in the business world. To learn more and apply for your personal coaching, seminars and group workshops, please visit or call 1800 631 311.