How valuable is your reputation? It should be priceless. Whether we are talking about your organization’s reputation or your personal reputation, its value must be protected at all costs. I was listening to the Braintrust Philanthropy Podcast Powered by VITREO recently. I have listened to every episode since it launched and it is amazing. I highly recommend it.
In the June 2019 episode, Mike House of the Stollery Children’s Hospital noted some wisdom his father once imparted to him: ‘The only thing you can take with you when you die is your reputation’. Obviously, it hit home with Mike, who is a leader in the charitable sector with a reputation to be envied and that he continues to maintain.
I got thinking about this and chatted with a few folks over coffee about reputations and what they mean, how we maintain them, and what we do when they go wrong. Here are some of the nuggets we took away.
- When a reputation is damaged, you need to apologize for whatever you did to damage it. That is the first step—no matter what! As a company (sponsor or property), when something has happened to damage your reputation, speak out, apologize, and then tell the story.
- We need to live up to what we promised. As a consulting agency, we have to deliver on everything we promised, and hopefully, over deliver so that our reputation is good. Reference checks and industry chatter are all based on reputation.
- As either a brand or a property, live up to what is in your agreement and go above and beyond. Make it work well so that people talk about how great you are to work with and not that you are “hard to work with.”
- Your personal reputation is key. Are you punctual for meetings? Do you come prepared? Do you deliver on deadline (or before)? Are you positive and engaged? These are attributes that will enhance your reputation. When you are known for arriving late to meetings and being unprepared; when you never deliver on schedule or are the “no” person in every meeting, or are hard to work with or communicate with because you never respond to emails, phone messages, or texts, you are building a reputation that you really don’t want.
Our coffee chat on this subject was terrific and eye opening about what makes and does not make a reputation that you want to take to the grave.
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