The powers-that-be may not notice it immediately. Yet, the moment your personal branding endeavors give the mere appearance of interference with your ability to do your job, you become an instant target for scrutiny and a scapegoat for a plethora of ailments that may not even be your fault. Perception is reality. The truth rarely matters in corporate America or any industry. Perception is king. If the perception is that you are more concerned with brand Y-O-U than you are with your boss and your employer, then the reality is you are in trouble.
• Lesson Number Two: The Bottom Line is Always the Bottom Line
No matter how glamorous “perks” of your job might be, remember that all enterprises exist to earn revenue and accomplish a set of objectives. If you do not understand the specific goals set by your company for you and also the goals of the company as a whole, you better ask somebody! Pay attention. Look around. Understand what others are doing and be careful not to get distracted. It is easy to fall into the trap of spending time on things that look good. Often times those things fail to yield returns congruent to the amount of time you are spending. Spend your “visible” time on the things that matter to your employer.
Think about it. Rogers looked like an exquisite rock-star in Vogue and all of the magazines that pictured her in cover stories over the past year. We were all beaming with pride to see her featured. After all it is imperative that we see more images of brilliant black women. However, the more exposure you have, the more scrutiny you face. For one, people now know who to blame. Did she really need to do dozens of magazine interviews that profiled her personal accomplishments? Did she need to announce the designer of her dress on red-carpet at the White House state dinner like we see celebrities do in Hollywood? Probably not. It is very rare that you actually see the person who planned the party. In retrospect, her time would have been better spent at the door checking IDs instead of on the floor mingling. The former is far less glamorous and certainly would not have required designer attire. Perhaps, though, by focusing on the bottom line, she would still have her job.
I do believe that as an African American woman, Desirée Rogers faced a heightened level of scrutiny from the media, from the White House, and from the public. Such is life. Excellence is the job description for all African-Americans. We must learn the strategies for playing the game at the top if we are going to get and stay there. No one is perfect, and Rogers is still a phenomenal example of substance and style. Though her tenure was attenuated, I celebrate her accomplishments and all that she will surely do in the future.
Tell me—what do you think led to Rogers departure? Who is to blame for the White House state dinner security breach? Would you have done something different? More importantly, what can professionals learn from this situation?
Reinvention Strategist™ Marshawn Evans is a former Miss America beauty queen turned Donald Trump Apprentice, turned Georgetown University trained sports & entertainment lawyer who equips the motivated to live without limits. She is Founder of ME Unlimited, a management consulting and performance strategy firm, and author of the bestselling book, SKIRTS in the Boardroom: A Woman’s Survival Guide to Success in Business & Life. Subscribe to her FREE empowerment e-newsletter at www.marshawnevans.com. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.