New ways of working require effectively demonstrating our individual strengths across many and different media. Whilst cyber connecting releases us from some of the traditional constraints and biases, it gives us opportunities for presenting the best of our identity.
As the boundaries of work expand, across functions, geographies, not to mention international time zones, the use of a number of different medias presents a challenge for us to create effective identities for these interactions. Indeed, most of my business is conducted via virtual meetings, cloud-based platforms and email at either end of the day depending on whether I am interacting with colleagues in the US or Europe. I am currently based on Australia’s east coast, not that this is a contentious point. Where and when work gets done is becoming less of a focus and enables more of us to choose a lifestyle whilst working. So how do I represent my strengths to expand my network and stay current with limited exposure?
It is already common practice to do a search for someone before interacting, and we know the conflicts between the private realms of Facebook versus professional LinkedIn social media platforms when employers and recruiters take both of these into consideration. But what am I portraying in my interactions of using these, and other technology platforms, e.g. to enable work-related collaboration? What is it about the context that brings out particular identity strengths?
Having written and rewritten my profile several times it felt diluted, full of the ‘right search terms’ but didn’t really relay what value my knowledge, expertise and unique experiences add to a client or partner business. Whilst most of us know that using terms such as ‘passionate about’ in our LinkedIn profiles is a no no, and caught between popular search terms to increase exposure of our profile, how to represent identity to show what lies beyond personality traits needs a new approach to thinking about ourselves.
Feeling good and empowered
The experience of actually creating a profile with the help of the cyberIDT and have feedback discussions has taken my understanding to a different level.
The 12 identity elements of the cyberIDT expose and examine parts of our identity in a considered context, whilst the coaching guides thinking about these elements in concert, so the whole creates a greater view of identity. The identity elements offer a language to topics which have popularly become too PC or too narrowly defined as diversity, such as generation, gender, ethnicity. By investigating those areas activated by certain situations I found what I think about these topics in first hand experience, away from the local, national or popular media noise.
What can the cyberIDT solve
My experience more than delivered on my request to build a robust profile.
Easy, inspiring, effective
So, the process of completing the cyberIDT™ was simple. As simple and takes about the same time, only 15 minutes, to complete as the ubiquitous MBTI™ most of us have taken. Whilst forced to make choices in the questionnaire, this purpose becomes obvious once the profile has been created.
The initial profile report is brief, offering a description of the overall tool. This first profile is uncluttered, leading on the top three most activated and bottom three least activated of the 12 identity elements. A coaching session was set up.
The red-eye slot - no kangaroos in Austria
Bearing in mind my coach is in Austria and I am in Australia, we had a virtual coaching session. I was reassured that the virtual coaching space offers an environment congruent with the conditions that many cross-boundary workers now experience, that is the speed to gain trust, F2F noise being reduced and focus on core issues. For me, one of the strongest benefits was that the transfer of learning into the workplace is minimised as I was directly experiencing the context that I was receiving coaching about, so no long to-do list. In line with the research, which supports a finding that we create multiple identities across different platforms, sometimes unknowingly and at others intentionally, this format enables participants to gauge what identity aspects they are exposing or perhaps want to create a virtual avatar.
The session started with an opening into what purpose I might have for this tool. My personal goals were to create a differentiated and informed summary for my professional LinkedIn profile; and also to make sense of the experiences I am having as an expat living 11,000 miles from family, familiar socio/geopolitical and business environments.
The 45-minute session covered in depth my most activated elements, which grounded my understanding in the strength-based approach of the tool. Those elements that I readily access and how they link with each other. Overall, it felt good to be making sense of my context.
I was curious about what the least activated elements meant for me. My initial thoughts jumped to a more negative aspect, that perhaps I was arrogant, had blind spots or was simply ignoring these elements. Again, I was reassured that this was a contextual tool and the discussion soon highlighted why certain elements of my identity were not as important to me when compared to others. Remember you are forced to rank answers in the questionnaire and it is important to think about the current situation. So, in this frame it was easier to discuss and think about why I am not currently activating certain elements that otherwise I consider a major part of my identity.
Subsequent coaching sessions followed a similar format:
If you wish to explore your identity profile, contact us.
Sources: Pixabay Public Domain: Free for commercial use
Digital transformation strategist | Privacy advisor | Cyber anthropologist | Author