Career Library: Stand Out

Dorie Clark Book a Great Addition to Your Career Library

Dorie Clark's latest: Stand Out.

This installment of the continuing series on books for sports business professionals considers the latest offering from Dorie Clark Stand Out.  This book is a key addition to any career library, as it covers two increasingly important topics in career development: finding a breakthrough idea and developing a following around your ideas.

First, a bit of background on Ms. Clark.  She has carved out a niche as a consultant, professor (at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business) writer (for Harvard Business Review and Forbes) and speaker in the last decade using many of the tactics and techniques discussed in Stand Out.

  This fact provides a comforting feeling as you are reading the work of someone who "practices what she preaches".

The book opens by explaining the business and employment conditions that have made standing out a necessity.  "Safe" jobs are disappearing.  Entire industries are being disrupted.  Searching for employees is no longer geographically limited.  She develops a clear case for the fact your professional reputation is increasingly important.

And as part of that professional reputation, you need to be known for something other than being hard working or dependable - traits valued in past generations.  Today you should also be a "thought leader" - someone who others view as an expert in a given topic area.

Chapters two through five offer four approaches to thought leadership:

  1. develop your expert niche
  2. provide new research
  3. combine ideas
  4. create a framework

Each chapter is full of examples and stories.

In researching the book Clark conducted interviews with 50 thought leaders, fortifying the book with many great anecdotes.

The second half of the book is equally important.  It considers how to build a following around your ideas.  Clark presents this quest for audience as a three step process:

  1. build your network
  1. build your audience
  2. build a community

In the internet/social media environment in which we live, this approach is a tremendous opportunity.  At the San Rafael, California appearance on her book tour I heard Clark drive this point home.  In our professional networks we build one-to-one connections, and many people have experience and strong networks established.  But the second step - build an audience - leverages your ability to create content (for example blogging) to build connections with many people you have never met or interacted with.

But to truly reach thought leader status, your ideas have to be strong enough that others care enough about them that they are promoting them on your behalf - she calls these people evangelists - and then you have created a following.

In fact, as I was reading, I realized that I am an evangelist for Dorie Clark.  I started reading her work a few years ago.  I truly appreciate her writings and thoughts related to branding and career management.  I regularly use her books and other writings in classes and recommend them to friends and colleagues.

Your reading this book recommendation is the embodiment of the tools and tactics Dorie Clark has used to build her successful career.

  And reading her book Stand Out may help propel your career to the next level.

Final Note:  Ms. Clark's earlier book Reinventing You is also full of great information for those seeking to transition from one career to another - like an accountant who wants to work in sports.  So if you are on the look out for a book on career transitions, it is another great read.

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Full Disclosure:  I co-authored an article on online personal branding with Dorie Clark in 2013.

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