cannot cry over spilt milk. Why? Because all the cows are not dead. And even if all the cows are dead, we still have camels and goats. My point is simple. Once your reputation has been soiled, the only way out is right back up.
I have this feeling that just like a broken bone on being healed is even stronger than it was, so would it be with your reputation. If handled well, the recovery process of your reputation might make you be glad that you had a spoilt reputation in the first place.
A good reputation...
However, that can only be the case if you made a conscious choice to do something about your broken reputation. We have already established again and again that a reputation is worth more than gold. A good name is worth more than resources. You can do so much with a great reputation.
On the other hand, a bad reputation will limit your reach, curtain your advancement and close as many doors that a good reputation opened. We have seen that there is no immunity to having a bad reputation especially if you are not intentional about your reputation management.
Internal or External Job?
At times someone malicious can destroy your reputation. This could be good if you are able to counter it as I am teaching. I remember one day a competitor decided to soil my reputation to a big multinational. As I was fuming through the process, someone told me to rejoice because for the very first time since I formed my company, its name was being discussed in high corporate echelons. I smiled.
The worst about a bad reputation though is what you choose to do with your own hands. When you decide to compromise your standards, your promises, your values or go back on your word, you soil your reputation. That is what we are discussing in this mini-series. We want to learn what you can do to build your reputation right back up.
In the previous articles, we have seen that there are some major things that you can do in order to rectify a ruined reputation. Believe me, there is nothing that is beyond repair. Even Apostle Peter who was called “Satan” by his friend Jesus had his clout restored just a week later. So far, we have seen that to repair your soiled reputation:
This is crucial. There is no repairing of your reputation if you do not acknowledge what you have done to contribute to its dismemberment. There is no plan that will come to the fore unless you come out clean. There is no goodwill that you will gain if you do not own up. There is no recovery that will be instituted if you do not promise not to repeat.
“Remember the place from where you fell…go back and start doing the things the same things that you used to do”. Essentially that’s what Jesus Christ would tell someone whose reputation has been soiled. You ought to remember matters related to your standards, your value, your excellence and the things that made you to have a stellar reputation in the first place.
3. Build It Right Up
This is as obvious as anything. However, this is where the rubber meets the road. If you are going to repair your broken reputation, you would be doing yourself great disfavour. What you ought to do though is take that opportunity and build a brand new and great reputation once again.
It is because once your reputation is blighted, people will always associate your previous reputation with your spoilt reputation. That is why repairing your reputation so that you can go back to how you were initially is foolhardy.
You can never really run away from the spot or the wrinkle that has come on your reputation. That is why we said that the first thing you have to do is to acknowledge it. Acknowledging is critical to building a new reputation.
Repair or Build?
Anytime you see someone trying to “repair” a soiled reputation, chances are that this person did not acknowledge that they messed up in the first place. There is no building up a brand new and great reputation if you do not acknowledge that you hit a low.
In building a new reputation, the following should be put into consideration.
Vulnerability and transparency:
The new reputation that you are building cannot pretend that you are as clean as cotton from the time you were born. A new reputation takes into account the fact that you messed up. This is not easy. That is why vulnerability is critically important.It is crucial also that there is transparency in the process of building a new reputation. Much as you cannot dwell on the past, you cannot also erase it. Transparency means that you are still readily available to acknowledge any setbacks that you are facing in building your reputation right back up.
People are so fast to post on their social media pages what they do not espouse in their hearts. Some time back in Kenya, two “Gospel” musicians were exposed for sleeping around with a girl and infecting her with a venereal disease. Shortly after, they showed up on facebook owning up their sins and asking for forgiveness.
The authenticity though was not there as they were caught on audio shortly after their apologies defending themselves and talking nonchalantly about their conquest. Authenticity at times demands that you work on yourself first before you can show up in public. It demands that you do not milk the previous clout that you had for you have already let it down. Authenticity demands that you be true to yourself first regardless of what other people might think or say.
Paying the highest price
You build your new reputation by choosing to pay the highest price possible to rebuild it. That is why I am insisting that you do not “repair” a broken reputation. You build a new one. This is going to cost you time. It is going to cost you money. It is going to demand a price higher than money and that is humility over pride.
Most importantly, it is going to require lots of work to go into it. Warren Buffet said that a reputation can be built in 20 years but can easily be crumbled in five minutes. It is true. But that is not the whole truth. A reputation that has been crumbled in five minutes can also be rebuilt in much less time than it took to build it in the first place. This can only be made possible if you pay the highest price for it. Hard work will payback.
In building a new reputation, you already have enough information that you obtained from step 2 (Going back to ground zero). The key will now be to make sure that you are not caught in any inconsistencies between what you say you represent and what you actually do.
The key to building a new reputation is to make sure that you remain authentic and consistent. This is important because people are now hawk-eyed to try and see if you are deviating from your quest to “reform”. If you chose the path of authenticity though, you will be in good hands.
The subject of reputation management is so vast that we shall have to do an article about this on its own. That being said though, you cannot purport to build a new reputation if you do not have in place a mechanism that will be robust and responsive enough to help you manage the reputation that you are building.
We shall continue with these thoughts in the next article.