How To Develop and Maintain Your Reputation

Recently there has been a lot of on-line discussion about the importance of reputation for businesses.  For solopreneurs it’s really about personal reputation.  The following summary gives advice that is still relevant despite the fact that it was taken from a career book Zen and the Art of Making A Living- A Practical Guide to Creative Career Design”  by Laurence G. Boldt back in 2000.

It’s interesting to think about this advice in all our dealings – in personal and business relationships in person and on-line.

 Good advice on how to develop and maintain your reputation:

  • Be Sharp:  Look your best – it shows that you care about yourself and others.  Be alert.  Give people your attention, and you will get their respect.
  • Be Prompt:  Be on time.  If you’re too early, you will rush people; if you are late, they will resent your making them wait.
  • Be Trustworthy:  Follow-through separates the men from the boys and the women from the girls.  A promise is easy to break, but the damage is very difficult to repair.  Keeping confidences and refraining from speaking negatively about others also demonstrate your trustworthiness.  Not being trustworthy is a sure way to destroy your reputation.
  • Be Honest:  Honesty is not simply a matter of not telling lies.  It also includes the capacity to be precise in your statements and measured in your judgments.  Avoid exaggerations and distortions.  Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know.  That’s not my area of expertise.”
  • Be Responsible:  Accept total responsibility for your actions.  When you make mistakes, admit them without blame, excuse, or defense.  If you have to say something – tell what you learned from the mistake.  Whenever you enlist the help of others, maintain responsibility for decision-making and for the consequences.  Don’t attempt to dump your problems onto others.  Wear your responsibilities well, with competence, confidence, and good cheer.
  • Be Courteous:  Show consideration.  Politeness and courtesy are always well received.  One of the best ways of showing people that you respect them is by respecting the value of their time.  Don’t impose.  Don’t overstay your welcome.  Don’t embarrass people or put them in awkward situations.  Show thoughtfulness.  Remember names, birthdays, favourite things, places, events, foods, etc.
  • Be Prepared:  Demonstrate that you value the relationship by giving your best.  Show that you care enough to prepare.  Prepare for your time together.  Organize the things you need to bring along as well as notes on subjects you want to discuss.  Prepare when you ask for help – be clear about how they can help you.
  • Be Appropriate:  A sense of appropriateness is critical to human relations.  Appropriateness is a matter of knowledge, sensitivity, and timing.  Knowledge – There are ways in which certain things are done.  These involve issues of protocol and custom:  whom to invite to various functions, what gifts to buy for whom, how to address and conduct oneself with various individuals.  This can be learned from a mentor or books.  Sensitivity – This involves a simple matter of empathy and common sense.  If we are alert with all of our senses and truly listening we will know when something is appropriate.  Timing – Recognize that what might be appropriate one time may not be in another.
  • Be Discriminating:  People with discriminating tastes are held in high regard.  It is especially important that you choose your associates carefully.  Far more than you may realize, you are judged by the company you keep.
  • Be Valuable:  Add value to the lives of those you touch.  Make their lives better for every encounter they have with you.  Increase your value by making a lifelong commitment to learning and growing.  The bottom line of a good reputation is that people have good things to say about you.  Work on your behaviour and demeanor so that’s all they have to say.
  • Don’t forget to smile!
 Your Monday Challenge is to review these ideas and consider how you and your business measure up.  Is there anything you would like to improve upon?