What’s in a Title?

What’s in a Title?

What’s in a Title?

“Very early on, when I started doing these plays and live shows, I would travel from city to city, and there were a million shows out there . . . so I wanted to step out among it, and I started putting my name above the title.”

Tyler Perry 

We recently attended a large real estate conference along with 2,500 commercial real estate professionals, including brokers, buyers, sellers, asset managers, property managers, developers, owners, investors vendors, and more brokers.  When looking through the published list of attendees and their titles, we were struck by some of the titles . . . 

Titles that say, “Hey, I’m in charge here”

  • Founder and Chairman
  • Owner and President
  • Sole Owner 

Titles that say, “Don’t you wish you had my job?”

  • Managing Director – Southern United States / Caribbean Region (honey, off to St. Croix again – don’t wait up!)
  • Managing Director – Global Real Estate (I don’t always drink beer, but when I do . . .)
  • After Party (simple – concise – interesting!)

Titles that say, “Aren’t you glad you don’t have my job?”

  • Director of Meetings (just shoot me)
  • Director of Construction, Kalamazoo Division
  • Director of Property Management, Flint Division (Kalamazoo is sounding better)

Titles that say “I’m not sure what exactly it is that I do here”

  • Vice President of Strategic Partnerships 
  • Co-head (of what?)
  • Mr.

The primary value of a title is threefold: (1) externally, to convey to outsiders some sense of the title holder’s level of authority to help facilitate the title holder’s ability to do business; (2) internally, to convey to team members the title holder’s level of authority; and (3) personally, to satisfy the title holder’s ego or to give him or her a desired title in lieu of additional compensation. Whether advocating at your organization for the title you would like is worth the time, effort, and relationship chits you must cash we cannot say. What we can say is that titles often are overrated, and that “putting your name above the title” is good advice that extends beyond the entertainment industry. Regardless of the title, if any, that follows, make your name stand for something. How about standard setter, team player, difference maker?

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