Nick Goss, former corporate strategist, BMC Software
Nick Goss had an identity, all right, but it wasn’t a positive one. “I was the annoying Englishman who says, ‘This isn’t going to work,’ ” he says. Goss, 50, started in 2003 as a corporate strategist in a division of BMC Software. At meetings he realized that his opinions were either ignored or greeted with skepticism; “The questioning got into incredible minutiae,” he recalls. In a frank talk with a senior VP, he confirmed that his brand, which he thought of as “clever, and good at coming up with novel solutions,” wasn’t selling. “They didn’t see me as someone who was experienced at what they do, so I didn’t have high credibility with them,” he says. After that conversation, and others like it, Goss made an effort to become less theoretical and more helpful.
In one technical-support project he was careful to convey not just his ideas but also how they might be applied. “Rather than making an observation that was just an observation,” Goss says, “I made sure to associate it with how it would affect what we do, what changes could result in our timeline and costs.” Goss credits the shift with earning him a promotion in 2006 to running the software-as-a-service division. After BMC, when he moved on to the retail-development industry as a CIO, he says his new, more refined approach enabled him to work better with consulting partner IBM and persuade it to share ideas directly with the company rather than doing an outside analysis. “People can’t see your intentions. They can only judge you by your observable behavior,” says Goss, who is now starting his own consulting business. His brand, it seems, is thriving.
By Josh Hyatt, contributor
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Case study No. 1: Don’t be overeager
Case study No. 2: The brand rehabber
Case study No. 3: Branding, not bragging
Case study No. 4: Edit thyself
Case study No. 5: Be sensitive to changing priorities
The promised brand: How to get there