Reputation takes a lifetime to build and mere seconds to lose. This is why your reputation and the reputation of your business matter in all you do during work hours and outside of those hours. This relates both to an overall picture of what others think and what you do that fits within those general thoughts, or not.
We all are ambassadors for the companies we work for. No role is bigger or smaller than other roles, just different. All roles are important and allow your business to function. It’s important to act in a manner that reflects well on you and your business to allow the business to function and to maintain its good reputation you have helped it earn.
Reputation is mainly defined in two ways:
- the beliefs or opinions that are generally held about someone or something; and
- a widespread belief that someone or something has a particular habit or characteristic.
I think the definitions are different, though connected. Your reputation clearly is what others in your circles or communities think of you. An example could be that you have a reputation for being honest, charitable, and a hard worker. At the same time, the beliefs of others are built on knowing your habits and characteristics that support such a reputation. An example of this is that each Saturday morning you volunteer at a local foodbank. Because of your habit to volunteer, part of your reputation is that you are charitable. What you do translates into who you are in your own eyes and the eyes of others.
Actions and inactions that can affect your reputation, and that of your business are numerous. Examples include not getting work done timely or within expectations, lying, or being careless on social media, even on your personal accounts. Do one or more of these and the response will be swift and negative.
On the other hand, when you do good, you have to continually do so for it to become part of your reputation. If you continually miss internal or external deadlines, others at your business, or the customers you need to succeed, may not want to work with you again. If you volunteer each week, it may be months (if you are lucky) or more likely years before that habit becomes part of your broader reputation. It may not seem fair one bad act or mistake can follow you for a long time while doing good can take years to penetrate your community as to who you are, but knowing this should help guide choices you make.
Your reputation is built on people's experiences with you. The reputation of your business is built on people's experiences with you. We all deal with a broad group of people. This includes co-workers, clients, vendors, and people we deal with in our personal lives, from friends and family, to the person who cuts your hair or services your car. How you deal with and treat these different people reflects on you and your business.
Doing your best at all times is one way to work on and protect your reputation by doing things in a way that reflects well on you and your business, and positively affects the way others think of both. Once in a while, think about whether there are things you can do better at work or home. Then do your best and a good reputation will follow.
As always, this post and others can be found on my blog, Business Law Guy.
About the Author: Neal Bookspan is a partner at the Phoenix, Arizona law firm of Jaburg Wilk. He assists clients with business issues, commercial litigation, workouts, and bankruptcy litigation. Neal can be reached at 602.248.1000.