Your Business Reputation and Why It Matters!
How others view us in the business community is a critical factor in determining success or failure. The catch is, when it comes to reputation, there is no such thing as reality – we have our own perception of ourselves, and the perception of others is often different.
Do you consider yourself an honest person? Someone with strong ideals and morals? Can you be sure you are coming across as a high integrity person to everyone else? Seemingly minor actions could impact your reputation for integrity. Suppose you were to change the terms of a deal with regard to time, money or terms, after a negotiation had been just about completed. Even if you had good reasons, the other party could easily perceive you to be less than honest.
Do you pride yourself on excellent follow through? You might rate yourself very highly on this, but the one or two clients you have let down, even in minor ways, may think differently.
It is human nature for most people to give themselves higher marks on behavior than others might. It is a self-preserving instinct to think well of ourselves. But, unfortunately, it is also human nature for others to grade us sharply lower based on one exception or failing. There is an adage that you have to compliment someone 9 times to make up for one criticism, because people remember the negatives and forget the positives. And, even when you correct a fault, it takes several repetitions of the new, better behavior before someone will actually give you credit for it.
At home, does your spouse claim you “always yell” in an argument? If you yelled once, you now “always yell”, right? Been there? Guess what – you may be in the same boat with your clients. If you have 5% late deliveries, that’s a 95% on time record. Pretty good. But, suppose those 5 times you were late, your client caught heck from their client. Went into “yellow” from “green.” Your being late 5 times stands out significantly in their minds and they don’t think about the routine 95 times you were on time.
In your own office, the boss who comes in like a cheerleader one day a week, and walks silently into his office the other four days is NOT thought of as a motivational leader. Consistency creates reputation.
Reflect upon how you come across, and think not just about your normal behaviors, but also of the exceptions that may stand out in the minds and hearts of others. How can you change what might be an incorrect or unfair perception? Nobody’s perfect, but the striving to be consistently better is what people will remember.