A Servant Leadership evangelist, a passionate professional and leader with close to 4 decades of experience, Dr. Madana Kumar plays two roles currently: one in the corporate world as the Vice President and Global Head of Leadership Development at UST and in consulting, spreading the message of Servant Leadership and helping organizations implement and benefit from this new leadership paradigm. He volunteers in the Theological Education field as an Honorary Director at the Center for Leadership at South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies. He is focused on making Servant Leadership the overarching Leadership philosophy at UST and several other organizations. He features in the 36th edition of Intraskope‘s Personal Branding Series, Dr. Madana shares the value of putting your experience and expertise for the benefit of others. He encourages us to think of learning as a way to bring positive change in the world. Learn more in this interview.
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Madana Kumar, PhD, Founder – Leadyne Organization Builders
1. What according to you is personal branding?
A way of letting others know how they can get value out of associating with me professionally.
2. Do you consider yourself a personal brand? If yes, how do you know it?
I don’t consider myself a personal brand. But the cause of Servant Leadership I evangelize is the brand. The indication is from the amount of interest I see in my connections to know the concept, follow the concept, etc.
3. What does one do to go about building a personal brand?
- First step: Build on something that you can offer to others
- Second step: Be ready to articulate how what you have can add value to others
- Third step: Let the world know
- Fourth step: Be willing to invest time in opportunities that come along to add value to others
4. What are the attributes of a personal brand? And what do people associate your brand with?
Expertise, Thought Leadership, Credibility, Willingness to help others
5. Based on your observations and learning who according to you is a personal brand? What characteristics do you admire about them?
Ken Blanchard. He is genuinely interested in leaving a legacy of Servant Leadership in this world. He has an eternally positive approach to life. He publishes and make his thoughts and wisdom available to others in multiple ways.
6. What steps did you take to build your brand? How do you know it is working?
1. Be a life-long learner. 2. Learn things not for the sake of learning, but with the explicit objective of helping others. 3. Convert those learnings into actions that are practical for others 4. Share the learning along with practical applications to others through different media. I know it works when I get feedback from others.
7. What challenges did you face while building a personal brand? What techniques did you use?
Most of the challenges faced by me were internal. For example, I had to deal with my own pride, my temptation to use the brand for my own benefit. Letting of the pride of being a “personal brand” was the biggest challenge. What helped me was the intentional desire to practice what I preach. The concept of Servant Leadership has enough guidelines on how to replace with Pride with Humility etc. So that is all that I did. Practiced what I preached.
8. During the process of building your own brand, what did you gain in the process? What did you lose?
Lost my pride. Lost my fears. Gained confidence. Gained fulfillment in life.
9. How can someone starting from scratch build a personal brand? What is the first step he or she must take?
Identify a cause that one is passionate about (and one that will benefit others, not oneself)
10. If you had the opportunity to change something about the way you built your personal brand, what would that be?
I have had a couple of book ideas in my mind for a long time. I was holding back on writing and publishing those books for a very long time. I realize that I am waiting for “the-book”, a perfect book. If I would change anything, I would go back and have my books (a-book, rather than the-book) published much earlier.
11. What is your recipe for personal branding success?
PEP to Put Others First. Passion, Energy and Preparation
12. Who according to you are personal brands whom others can follow and learn from?
Jesus Christ, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Ratan Tata, Herb Kelleher, Truett Cathy, Ken Blanchard
13. With COVID19 and other crises what steps can personal brands take?
COVID has accelerated the changes that the world has been going through. It has made us realize very clearly that our actions have an impact on others. This should make us behave more responsibly in future.
14. What’s your advice for youngsters (Gen Z and others) who want to consider their personal brands?
Look for a higher purpose in your branding efforts. It is not about you. It is not about what you have or don’t have. It is about what-you-do-with-what-you-have for others.
Liked the interview? Share your comments and feedback.
Watch the video interview on my YouTube channel or read the complete transcript on my blog. Watch more such video interviews by subscribing to my channel.
Look up more such articles on my blog www.aniisu.com. Missed the earlier episodes? Look them up here: Muqbil Ahmar, Tinu Cherian Abraham, Joseph Fernandez, Christina Daniels,Karthik Srinivasan,Gautam Ghosh, Alexander Michael Gittens, Mubeen Azeez, Itzik Amiel, Mangal D Karnad, Abhijit Bhaduri, Sandeep K Krishnan PhD, Scott Shirai, Sunil Robert, Latha Vijaybaskar PhD, Abha Maryada Banerjee, Dr. Amit Nagpal, Sukanti Ghosh, Amith Prabhu, Dave Carroll, Prof. Deva Rangarajan, Ramesh Thomas, K V Dipu, Chip Helm, Suresh Ramdas, Karthik Nagendra PhD, Jeppe Hansgaard, Raja Karthikeya, Atamjeet Singh Bawa, Vidyadhar Prabhudesai, Patrick Widmann, Dr. Kalpana Gopalan, Cherian Kuruvila, Prachi Shevgaonkar and Mark Hannant online and share your thoughts.
Keen to get ahead with your personal brand? Here are some resources:
- Take this course – Personal Branding 101: Unlock Your Potential and Stay Ahead
- Take a FREE assessment on personal branding.
- Refer to the 3C model on Personal Branding
- Sign up for a 60-minute personalized chat on personal branding
- Personal branding for corporate communicators
Keen to participate in the ongoing series on Personal Branding, Internal Communications or CSR Communications? Drop me a note at [email protected]
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