Tom H.C. Anderson is the founder of Anderson Analytics, an online market research firm. He facilitates (he is listed as the owner) the 8,826 member LinkedIn group called Next Gen Market Research (NGMR).
One of my former students and market researcher, Sharon Markovsky, made me aware of an incident that occurred during a discussion in the NGMR LinkedIn group recently. To make a long story short, in the course of the threaded discussion on LinkedIn, Tom apparently expressed his very strong views in opposition to an issue the group considers very important.
Something about his opinion, the manner in which he expressed it, or a combination of both, is costing him. Tom so far has been removed from an elected position in a professional organization and lost a keynote speaking gig in Mexico. He has blogged very candidly about it in his posts “Message to US ESOMAR Members,” and “Why I will not be permitted to speak in Mexico in September.” I admire his candor and think the transparency of these blog posts is ultimately good for his personal brand.
I can’t offer my opinion on the LinkedIn discussion because I am not a member of NGMR and therefore have not read the discussion. The point I want to make is independent of whether or not Tom’s behavior deserves such a strong rebuke.
The thing to keep in mind is that the more successful you are at establishing your personal brand, the more people are going to pay attention to what you say and do. I’m a big believer in branding with passion and conviction, but that must always be balanced with discretion and responsibility.
I would never tell you to always be positive in your original posts, comments, and discussions online. Sometimes you have to take an unpopular stand or even disagree with others.
Just make sure that before you hit “enter” you think it through and are willing to stand behind everything you say online.
Bret Simmons is an Associate Professor of Management in the College of Business at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), where he teaches courses in organizational behavior, leadership, and personal branding to both undergraduate and MBA students. He has a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Oklahoma State University. Bret practices personal branding at his website Positive Organizational Behavior where he blogs about leadership, followership, and personal branding. His purpose is “to change your mind about the value of partnering with others to build healthy, responsible organizations where everyone can thrive.” You can also find Bret on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.