Are you a Body, a Brain or a Business Partner? – Personal Branding Blog – Stand Out In Your Career

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Perhaps you have been one or the other for much of your career. Think back to your first jobs … fast food, delivery services, retail store, etc. I’ve had all of these. I’m guessing you have too.

All of these made you who you are today. Whether you are early in your career or even if you have been doing something for 10, 20 or more years.  But, as you look for your next role I suggest considering which of the three you want to be. Which one you want to focus on and which one’s you want to delegate. This is not an article on the art of delegation, but when you know what you are and want to be it becomes much easier to delegate tasks.

This is also true if you are looking to hire someone.
Consider what you are looking for when creating the job description.

What Do You Want To Be Today? Tomorrow? Next Year?

When you decide which one you want to be … or more realistically which combination of ratios of each you want to be then you can set yourself up for success. As you evaluate your current skills and consider what you want to do and be next you can consider whether you are a Body, a Brain, or a Business Partner.

Reality Check: Each of us occupies various incarnations of each at different times in our careers.

Heck, at different times of the day … especially for solopreneurs.

When a company is in the process of hiring someone it pays to note what they seem to really want to hire. Some companies and some hiring managers are not always clear on what that want. It’s up to you to suss out what they really want. This might be a difficult thing to do. However, if you know what you want to be you can ask questions to discern if the role is shaped for where you want to be.

What do I mean by a Body, a Brain, and a Business Partner?

  • A Body — Meaning just a warm body. Someone that can fog a mirror and perhaps not much else.
  • A Brain — Someone with the skills to make things happen in a predictable and repeatable manner.
  • A Business Partner — Someone that can and will be integral to the business. Trusted, expected to deliver, and a key component of the business.

Do people only hire Body and Brain types? Yes!

While this might seem like a derogatory position to take when describing some roles that is not the intent. The intent is to decide what YOU want to do. There are times in our lives that being one specific thing is exactly what we need. If you have the luxury of deciding (and most of us to) then it’s worth the time to consider what you want to do … Now, Tomorrow, Next Year, and Beyond.

There are absolutely times to be one or more of these roles. You hopefully have the luxury of deciding which one you want to be. When I describe a Body above … don’t take that offensively. There are companies that treat their people this way. The role of a Brain can sometimes be very analogous — working on tax filings or other work that can be a long slow grind. Body and Brain roles are important. The smart companies and the smart employers look for more. The look for Business Partners.

When done right … a Business Partner model allows, enables and empowers a Body or a Brain to put their skills to the test and become an integral partner to the business and to the customer experience.

The point of this post really started with the previous sentence. I have seen too many companies not willing to elevate their positions to consider the Bodies and the Brains as being integral to the business. In the long run these business lose out to others that do look for business partners. At least that’s what I see and expect to continue to see more and more of as The War for Talent heats up in the coming years.

So, how to you decide which is right for you? That’s up to you to decide. There are so many options. And, the good news is … you can change your mind as you go. See the post below about spending 40 minutes (or 20 hours) to learn a new skill.

How to Get Ahead, Stay Ahead, and Do What You Want?

Simple … commit yourself to Being A Life Long Learner.

Would you be willing to spend 20 hours to learning something new?
If yes, you might enjoy this post Can You Spare 40 Minutes to Learn a New Trick?

This doesn’t meant you need to learn everything or know everything. I am trained as an engineer. What they taught us in school (and my parents taught me this too) is that when you take the time to learn something … then you’ll have that knowledge forever. It doesn’t mean I’ll ever be an expert in certain things. Actually, in a lot of things. What it does mean is that I can decide whether I want to be a Body, a Brain, or a Business Partner with the knowledge I have learned.

That’s the key! You get to decide what you want to be.

Additional Reading – I’m including these because you don’t need to quit your “day job” to make something happen and to decide which role you’d like to fill.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said it well. He said ‘It’s better to be a ‘learn-it-all’ than a ‘know-it-all’ and he put that mantra to the test over the past three years as he has re-directed the Microsoft machine to massive gains. If he can do this with 120,000 employees imagine what you can do yourself – both personally and professionally.

So, are you positioning yourself as a Body, a Brain, or a Business Partner?





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Jeff Shuey

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