Estimated reading time: 3 mins
Building a public profile nowadays, it seems, is an essential part of developing a career. Even when you’re in a job that is predominantly inward looking (such as support or facilities) your external profile remains important to be competitive, as the reality of today is that potential business partners, employers and investors are increasingly looking at it for information about you.
So as a demonstration of how building a strong public profile brings success, I’d like to introduce you to Peter Birley. Peter is a CIO in Browne Jacobson, a law firm in the UK, and he also runs a blog aimed at CIO and IT leaders. Peter has developed his profile using his blog and his LinkedIn profile, but also is quoted on several major industry websites, such as silicon.com . His external profile shines. But Peter isn’t a PR genius or philanthropist, and he doesn’t date a-list celebs…. but he does invest in his public persona, and it pays off; he won the runner-up prize in the computerweekly CIO blog contest in 2008 !
I caught up with Peter….
SS: Peter, well done on winning the runner-up to the ComputerWeekly CIO Blog contest. How has this affected you personally, and the hits to your website?
PB: I have had a lot of people contact me including some old friends who I hadn’t spoken to for ages but also some sales related calls. The hits have continued to build as a result of the competition and I have also realised that there is an audience so I need to be a bit more frequent in my posts.
SS: You’re obviously an experienced CIO – what do you enjoy about the role?
PB: I enjoy the challenges that the role brings and everyday can be different. I get a lot of satisfaction from making things happen and hopefully a difference to my company and the people in it.
SS: Have you seen a shift yourself in the role of CIO over the years, and what are they?
PB: I think several aspects of the role have changed from what was initially a very technical role to more of a business role and from a team leader role to a manager role with more of the emphasis about people.
SS: What advice would you give to a newly appointed CIO?
PB: I think the most important aspect is to identify the key stakeholders in the organisation and establish a relationship with those people. You can be a brilliant CIO technically or strategically but if people don’t know what you are doing and you have supporters communicating the message then it could all go wrong.
SS: What is your view on the role of the CIO in the future?
PB: I think the role will continue to move into the general business arena with more emphasis on Business Process efficiency and general business operations. The CIO will be the change manager and the innovator in the company.
SS: Looking far into the future, what do you see yourself doing in your minds eye just before you retire?
PB: Well not that far but thanks. I maybe a bit sad but I would like to continue to have some role in the IT world either in consultancy, Interim or non exec positions. To that end I will be mentoring a replacement, enhancing my networking skills and continuing to build my contact database and my knowledge database.
SS: Thanks for your time Peter.
Peter’s dedication to his public image is an example to all IT professionals in the modern business climate.
UPDATE: I found this article on the CIO.COM website which sums it all up!
3 thoughts on “Building a Public Profile: A Success Story”
THis is a good example of what I want to achieve in my career. I think the external face is an essential aspect of new business. Where do you think the best place to start is, though?
From my experience so far, one way is to start and maintain a blog (many are abandoned after a few months).
But be careful! Running a blog is a commitment on time and energy which even the most enthusiastic blogger probably underestimates. (note Simon’s use of guest bloggers and writers).
Another alternative is to build a small (< 5 pages) html web site and just add the occasional article to it every month or so. That way you avoid being bitten by the “blogging clock” which is a fever I’ve seen some succumb to!
If you’re working for a company I think you also need to do your own research about what is permissible to talk about and what not – for example, mentioning your employer by name or criticizing it’s operations or clients. This is sticky ground that even a disclaimer may not cover you on – I know that Financial Services companies are very nervous about “risk and reputational impact”. CYA – cover your assets 😉
Simon – 1 observation – do you, as site owner, have to enable the gravatars on this site? Mine isn’t showing last time I checked.
@Mark – you’re right about one thing, starting a blog and developing it does take serious time and it is exactly for that reason why I took on guest bloggers. I enjoy it though, which keeps me motivated. A simple site works too for many people, like an online CV/Resume. I think that LinkedIn is probably the best place for that though.
Mark, Gravatar integration comes as standard with the WordPress theme I use. I didn’t need to build it myself. I can switch it off and on… but thats all I need to do!