As you journey through this DBA learning experience, it is my hope that you are prepared for a transformational experience. The DBA experience is designed to be different from other educational experiences. It is more integrated and holistic in perspective. You can certainly ease your way through the program. However, if you challenge yourself cognitively and emotionally, your capacities will be stretched and strengthened.
The DBA experience should expose you to opportunities that change the way in which you see and interact with the world. For some, this may seem threatening. For others, it may seem too lofty, and for others this is why you enrolled in the program.
Earning a DBA is serious business. Maximum value can only be achieved when you commit the time and effort needed to fully leverage what is being asked of you. Hopefully, the whole experience will be transformative. If it wasn’t, then there is no valid reason for undertaking the experience. Since transformation is the goal, so it is prudent to clearly identify the goals to be attained.
After you have completed the program, how will you be different? Will you have to tell people you have obtained a DBA or will they know it through your insight and contribution? For example, a caterpillar doesn’t have to tell anyone it has become a butterfly. Similarly with you, people should see the difference. You need to set audacious goals. Accompanying these goals should be a plan for execution.
Some of these goals could include:
- heightened self awareness
- increased emotional intelligence/resilience
- strengthened level of confidence
- tolerance for ambiguity
- improved learning agility
- enhanced technical skills
- widened peer networks
A helpful way in seeing yourself differently is to think of yourself as a brand. Generally, we associate brands with corporations such as Nike, Starbucks, Apple, Southwest Airlines, etc. Over the years these brands have become powerful and they resonate emotionally with many people. The reason for the resonation is brands are relationships. There is an emotional connection. Brands stand for something. Brands are promises. Brands are distinctive. Brands are perceptions. Brands are relevant and they consistently deliver on their promise. Strong brands make a difference. The strength of a brand impacts the difference it is going to make. Companies that have a strong brand have a mission, vision, and values that are shared by associates and clients. Strong brands are game changers.
The concepts of being a brand and making a difference have been adopted by many individuals who have branded themselves. Strong individual brands that quickly surface are George Foreman, Tiger Woods, Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Will Smith, Rihanna, Julia Roberts, David Beckham, and Oprah Winfrey. Over the years, these individuals spent time developing their brands. They also know how to leverage their brands. Recently, Kylie sold part of her brand name company for over $600 million.
As you begin your transformational experience, I encourage you to craft your life’s mission, vision, and values. By developing these, you create the possibility of greatness. As you strengthen these, they will resonate with others and increase your effectiveness.
Brands are about making a difference. The question is, “Are you prepared to make a difference?”
The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund Stone Zander, and Benjamin Zander
Free Agent Nation: The Future of Working for Yourself by Daniel H. Pink
The Brand You 50: Or: Fifty Ways to Transform Yourself from an ‘Employee’ into a Brand That Shouts Distinction, Commitment, and Passion! by Tom Peters
The Brand Called You. Forget about Your resume. You don’t have a Resume. You’ve got a Marketing Brochure for the Brand Called You. Fast Company. by Tom Peters.
Be Your Own Brand: A Breakthrough Formula for Standing Out from the Crowd by David McNally and Karl Speak
Build Your Own Life Brand! : A Powerful Strategy to Maximize Your Potential and Enhance Your Value for Ultimate Achievement by Stedman Graham
Make a Name for Yourself: Eight Steps Every Woman Needs to Create a Personal Brand Strategy for Success by Robin Fisher Roffer
The Product Is You!: Position Yourself for Success as an Advisor by Mark Magnacca
By: Brian (Raj) Beekie, M.A., Ed.D., core associate professor