What is a prized possession you can rarely get back once you lose it?
The answer is your reputation.
These days, one of the growth industries is brand management. (In fact, branding “experts” are seemingly everywhere—ask any business owner!) At the core, the “brand” is what the company represents and constituents (e.g., customers) can expect to receive. Any successful business must develop and sustain its brand and view it as a core asset. Companies spend enormous sums each year refining and marketing their brands to do just that.
So, what’s your brand? What values and attributes are at your core? After all, a great brand applies equally to people, doesn’t it? That means to be our best, we should consider our brand or reputation as a priceless asset. Here’s why:
- Good reputations give you something to strive for. How do you develop a good reputation? Be a person who is deserving of one. This means considering the person you want to be and the characteristics you want to embody (generosity, honesty, kindness, determination, leadership), and focus on modeling them.
- Good reputations help you market yourself. When looking for a new job or to advance in your career, your reputation will precede you and give you a leg up on the competition. They also build an invaluable network of ambassadors!
- Good reputations set an example and inspire others. People will want to be around you, glean wisdom from you, and take your advice.
I was fortunate to have worked with George Russell, the Chairman Emeritus of Russell Investments. He always took pride in saying, “Our company operates with non-negotiable integrity.” He meant it. George always said, “If you’re wondering whether or not to do something, ask how you would feel if it became tomorrow’s headline in the New York Times.” It challenged all of us to preserve the company’s reputation!
What a great rule to live by as individuals, too. When you’re faced with a tough decision, consider how you would feel about your choice being published in a newspaper for all the world to see? How would it affect your reputation? Remember, it’s a priceless asset!
No matter what you do, preserve your integrity, values, and reputation with every ounce of strength. Be the person who is deserving of a great reputation. You will absolutely, positively, and totally regret it if you don’t!
How would you describe your brand or reputation? Which aspects are you proud of and which could use some improving? How have you handled situations where you were tempted to compromise your integrity or your values? Join the conversation with your comments!