• Matt Black

Why Reputation is Your Best Business Resolution in 2016

I know that making New Year’s resolutions isn’t for everybody.

And I have to admit, I’m on the fence as to whether or not it’s an effective practice, and that’s mainly based on let-downs from my past when the sobering realities of life crushed my unrealistic goals or strategies.

But you’re lying to yourself if you think you don’t have anything to improve on in 2016.

Nobody’s perfect, right?

Some of us recognize this latter, much more logical notion but take it to the extreme, trying to improve in too many areas of our lives all at once, resulting in disappointment or failure.

The key really, is to strike a balance between the constant desire for more and feeling satisfied with your efforts and results… but it’s actually quite difficult to accomplish.

This is why I’m suggesting you make shaping your reputation – as a brand, person or professional – your primary resolution for 2016.

This year, it’s time to focus on an area of your life you really can control: and by definition, your reputation is exactly that.

The things you say, the actions you take, the decisions you make… they all contribute to how others view you.

2015 saw major brands like Chipotle (E. coli breakout), Volkswagen (emissions scandal) and Bloomingdale’s (drink spiking ad) do serious damage to their reputations.

Backlash on social media is swift, and each one of these organizations is still feeling the heat from their respective online communities for the mistakes and poor decisions they made during the last calendar year – some more than others.

While it’s unlikely you’re currently dealing with any crises as severe, these examples may reinforce the importance of preserving a solid reputation, and if nothing else, inspire you to avoid major slips moving forward.

What we can all undoubtedly learn from the fallout of fails like these is this: you only have one reputation – and it’s always in your best interest to make sure it’s posiitve!

If you’re committed to dedicating your efforts in 2016 to your reputation, here are some helpful strategies to consider:

Do good, honest work

I’m going to come right out and say it: human beings hate being deceived.

In fact, even the inclination that somebody may be lying to us can drive us over the edge or cause future doubt and mistrust.

It goes without saying that suspicions about whether or not you or your brand bring an honest approach to the table will negatively impact your reputation.

But the good news is that the solution is simple: just do good, honest work!

Being transparent and making an effort to avoid keeping people in the dark will restore faith in your ability to deliver results or do the right thing. A huge part of maintaining a positive reputation stems from the level of integrity you establish right from the outset.

If it helps, over-communicate and keep everybody in the loop at all times to increase the optics that you have nothing to hide and that you’re not holding anything back.

Right the wrongs

Even when you find yourself feeling like you weren’t responsible for the hit to your reputation, it’s in your best interest to do whatever it takes to make things right.

No, I’m not saying you have to own up to things you didn’t say or do…

But your reputation will thank you for it if you swallow your pride and make things right.

It can be frustrating to fall on your sword when others are to blame for your image being damaged, but in the long run, it’s in your best interest. So try and make peace with those who you disagree with. Look for ways to unite with competitors and strengthen your industries or communities as a whole. Swallow your pride and admit you don’t know everything from time to time.

Whenever possible, do the right thing – even if it sets you back from your fiscal goals or eliminates immediate gains.

Say what you mean, do what you say

A huge part of your reputation depends on sticking to your guns and following through on your promises. Whether in life or in business, you can’t say one thing and do another.

It just doesn’t work that way.

If you establish a deadline or set expectations for a client or contact, stick with it!

Deliver the results you say you will, when you said you will.

The details matter, and you can’t just assume that your customers will forget about a promise you made if enough time passes, or that your community is going to look past regular transgressions.

Excessive behaviour like this will cause irreparable damage to your reputation.

So be sure to rely on clear communication and honest intentions to help keep you on track. Over time, once you demonstrate a consistent track record of delivering what you’ve said you would, your reputation will precede you and strengthen in the eyes of others.

Have you set any New Year’s resolutions for 2016? If you came under fire and your reputation took a hit, how you would try and restore it? Please share your thoughts with me in the Comment section below.


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