Now that the initial hoopla surrounding LeBron James’ poorly executed (and planned) career move has simmered down, you might not believe it, but we can focus on the valuable career lessons that can be learned from this experience. We’ve already heard all the commentary on how arrogant, stupid, ignorant everyone thinks he is. We’ve even heard how his business partners have lead him down the wrong path and doused a healthy serving of gasoline on his ego. But that’s not what I want to focus on. Besides, I’ve already addressed all of that very thoroughly on my blog post the day after “Decision 2010″. (lol) If you had been paying close attention and sidestepped the drama of the occasion, you could have taken away some valuable gems (good and bad) to help guide you with your own career strategies.

Here are ten strategies that could work for you:

*Define Your Brand…Then Own It- LeBron has not only used his skills, but also the marketing muscle with LRMR to build his brand. The city of Cleveland, fans, Dan Gilbert, and not to mention the product endorsements have all been instrumental in building his brand. Let’s face it, he has defined himself as the King of Basketball (and business) and let everyone else run with it. He definitely owns his brand unlike any other ball player before him. Define your brand, then make sure other people are representing and referring to it as you wish it to be.

*Assign your own value- Know what you bring to the table in talent, expertise, resources and connections. Then assign what you think is a fair value to it. Stand firm in that value and never let anyone devalue or diminish that. If you don’t believe you’re worth it, no one else will. Set your value before someone else does. Compromise should come on your terms only.

*Continue honing your craft- The better you get at something, the more valuable you’ll be to the world. Nobody rewards for mediocrity. Always seek to challenge yourself to grow to the next level. It helps to build and validate your brand power.

*Position yourself to have options- LeBron built up his value so much that he had the luxury of choosing where he wanted to play (and boy did he have some hot bidding going on for him). Whether you know it or not, you have the luxury to choose where you want to be…if you’ve built a solid brand and value. Don’t be locked in to what other people THINK you should be doing. Keep those options open.

*Always keep your options open- This piggy backs off the last tip. People are afraid to see what else is out there. They feel that the economy doesn’t allow you to look elsewhere for career satisfaction. I mean, you should be grateful you have a job right? WRONG. Keep your options open so when opportunity knocks you can answer.

*Be willing to compromise (slightly) to get what you want- Yes, you should hold your ground and ask for what you deserve, but sometimes you have to take a step back to reach the bigger end goal. It’s not always about the money. LeBron took a “pay cut” but should he win and continue to build his brand, the money will roll in. What is your happiness worth? Career satisfaction wins every time.

*Never play your hand before you’re ready to make a move- If you want to avoid career suicide, keep your mouth shut about plans to move on. If your employer finds out you want to leave, it may end badly for you. They may see it as a sign of disloyalty and can you quicker than you anticipated. Focus on achieving your objective, secure any new offers in writing, boost your savings, then give the customary two weeks notice.

*Negotiate from a place of authority- When you are at the final stages and compensation is on the table, do your research. Find out what comparable companies are paying, optional career path in the company, and what your skills and knowledge mean to the company. When you have a clear understanding of why they need you and what they are willing to do to get you on board, you can negotiate just about anything.

*Leverage your brand- OK, this is effective if you’ve spent the time and energy building your brand and the employer sees the value. Be prepared to back it up though. Know what you bring to the table. What makes you valuable? Who else is willing to pay for top talent? Do you have (real) options? Don’t try the squeeze play if you don’t have the juice behind it.

*Don’t burn bridges- This is self explanatory. But I’ll explain just in case it isn’t. Idealistically we all have the right to go where we choose for professional fulfillment. It’s not about leaving…it’s the WAY you leave. People will remember the way you leave far longer than the fact that you left. You never know when paths may cross in the future. Be mindful of that.

So don’t look at LeBron’s big move as the circus act it unfolded into in the media. Think about it as an employee exercising his options to fulfill his career goals.

Author's Bio: 

Adrienne Graham is CEO of Hues Consulting & Management Inc, a recruitment consultancy and the CEO & Founder of Empower Me! Corporation, a media, publishing and professional development organization. She is the voice behind Views From the Top Radio Show and the creative social media visionary responsible for creating Empower Me Institute, Empower Me! Magazine, Empowered Woman TV, and the Empower Me Networks. She is also the author of Go Ahead, Talk to Strangers- The Modern Girl's Guide to Fearless Networking, and the new book Get Recruited: Secrets from a Top Recruiter on Using Unconventional Tactics to Get Noticed in an Inconvenient Economy.