Ask anyone with a good reputation how they got it and you’ll likely get an answer similar to; “Doing the right thing. Even when nobody is looking, when it is not fun, or when it is difficult.”
It is no surprise really, the extraordinary actors, musicians, athletes, and business professionals talk openly about how much they dedicate towards their craft. Early mornings, and late evenings of eating, sleeping, breathing their dreams into reality.
Their reputation is built along the journey.
Ask someone with a bad reputation the same question and you’ll likely get a different point of view – perhaps hear some blame thrown at a broken system or general unfairness.
Those who have taken responsibility to repair their reputation all take the same path – building trust through small steps taken consistently over time.
This all seems pretty easy to grasp as we have lived through building and protecting our personal reputations.
Ask a CEO how to build a good reputation for their business, and you’ll likely hear answers along the lines of “Hire the best Advertising or Public Relations firm”
Building a business reputation is NO DIFFERENT. Do the right thing. Even when nobody is looking, when it is not fun, or when it is difficult.
When nobody is looking:
Many corporations’ headquarter their offices or manufacture products in countries that allow for certain tax, waste, or labor advantages. Whether there are no regulations or officials simply look the other way; it can make for drastically lower cost of doing business, but makes it difficult to build a quality reputation. As consumers, we have the ability to either support or deny support through our purchases.
When it is not fun:
Nobody looks forward to a decrease in their income or hear honest feedback suggesting areas they need to change. It is almost common practice for executive committees to slash hundreds or thousands of jobs in order to earn bonuses and maintain their benefits.
How can this build a quality reputation?
Meanwhile, leaders like Japan Air Lines CEO cutting HIS own salary and slashing executive benefits to help keep employees working (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqFxK3GMEkA) go a long way to building trust and maintaining a quality reputation.
When it is difficult:
Product recalls, shipping delays, backorders, and lack-luster product sales are never easy to explain to customers or stakeholders. When a major backorder happened to me earlier in my career; I relied on open and honest communications with my clients and told them everything I knew was that there would be extensive delays. Several of them began purchasing exclusively from a competitor, making my sales take a serious nose-dive. However, once inventory was again consistently available; they came back to me knowing that they could trust me with their business.
My friend Vinny Tafuro started a little project in 2012 that he calls Corporate Empathy. He wrote a book and offers some catchy shirts and buttons. One of my favorites reads; “If corporations are people; shouldn’t they act like adults?” Click the button to learn more and for support options.