Guard your Reputation with your life

Guard your Reputation with your life

Article by Cynthia Chirinda Hakutangwi

Building a good reputation takes time. Not only with the public, but also with stakeholders that you are dealing with. Damaging a reputation, however, does not require much. It happens often totally unexpected, but with huge consequences. We can all remember famous people, or just someone significant to us, who have done something to forever ruin their good name. The list is endless of the names of politicians, sports heroes, and leaders that have disappointed us all with their fall.

Your name represents your life

Your name represents you, your life, and who you are. It speaks of the work you do and how you do it. Your name embodies your reputation. Having a good name requires honourable motives and priorities. It also involves living with a clear conscience by taking responsibility for your actions and making restitution when you have offended someone or done something wrong. To have a clear conscience means taking responsibility for your actions and making things right when you have done wrong to others. A clear conscience gives inward motivation to maintain good works when your name is under attack. The best way to gain a good name is just to begin doing the right thing. Do it because it is the right thing, not because someone is watching.

Associate with Wise People

Companionship is an important part of life, and your associates influence your judgment on many issues. A good name can be damaged by friendships, through either influence or association. Others may esteem or fail to esteem your name on the basis of the company you keep. Although we should not altogether withdraw from interacting with people whose behaviour and values differ from our own, we should seek to choose wise companions to be our closest friends. You may need to ask a trusted friend to hold you accountable to fulfill your promises. We all have blind spots. There are simply areas in which we cannot see as well as others. When we enlist accountability, we can cover these blind spots. Then we are less likely to miss something that could be damaging to our good name. Who is holding you accountable? There are too many pitfalls out there that will destroy a good name.

Managing your corporate reputation

A business’s reputation is what sets it apart from the competition. Once lost, a good corporate reputation can be very difficult to regain. Consistency, reliability and transparency are vital tools in building and maintaining a good corporate reputation. It is often tempting in customer situations to promise the world. Whether you are trying to sell something or just estimating when the repairs will be complete, over-promising is a common mistake. It is damaging to a good name. Management should lead by example to ensure that company values are upheld and projected in all levels of the company. The value of a company’s reputation is not merely measured in monetary terms; it includes value in the broader sense of the word. This means adding value to the community and building trust – values which are ultimately incorporated into the share price. In this economic downturn, now more than ever, we have an obligation to share, impart and educate business on the importance of reputation management, because it impacts on people’s lives, the country and the economy as a whole. Building reputation is far more than having an effective PR strategy. It covers every aspect of the business, from how the sales team interacts with customers, the style of the annual report, how management communicates with employees and everything in between. Warren Buffet, the US billionaire is known to have said “If you lose money for the firm, I will be very understanding. If you lose reputation for the firm, I will be ruthless.”

Get your name back

It takes time to build a good reputation. And even more time to rebuild a damaged one. Damaged reputations may not be easy to recover or repair – but it can be done with patience, determination, and perseverance. This is why it’s so important to protect your reputation. Sometimes, the loss to your reputation is no fault of yours and sometimes it’s your own mistake. Maybe you’ve made some bad choices, and the gossipers are now using them against you. Or maybe someone is making up lies about you, simply trying to hurt you. If the source of the gossip is rooted in truth, let people (especially the people you care about the most) know what is true, but that you want to change. Then, over time, go about proving it to them! Repairing a damaged reputation begins with an accurate assessment:  Who are you? What did you do or not do? What must be done to correct it? If you need, get a second opinion from a few trusted friends who can give you a more balanced viewpoint on what you’ve done and what you need to do to fix it. Ingrained, instinctive, consistent and disciplined behaviour will help to restore your reputation.” Your good reputation is a valuable asset. Communicating with the right people, in the right way, at the right time, is an important part of protecting your good name. Do all you can to fulfill your promises and carry out your commitments, whatever the cost. After all, a person’s name is as good as their word. Consider the promises you have made to your faith, yourself, your family, friends, and others. Have you kept your word?

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