The other day while in traffic, I observed a small car (Vitz) trying to make its way past a big trailer. The trailer, not wanting to give way simply scathed passed breaking away the car’s side mirror. Unfortunately for the Vitz owner, the trailer did not feel the dent caused and simply drove away unaware of the damage inflicted. Such road incidents, where we see big cars bullying the small cars off the road, are a very common phenomenon. In Kenya, Trailers are not the only road bullies we see, we also have Matatu drivers, followed by Probox drivers (known for transporting Khat or Miraa) and finally, we have Subaru drivers.
These cars have all earned themselves a certain reputation thanks to how they are handled by their owners. All of them, are well known for speed they are driven at and a serious lack of courtesy while on the road. The trailer will use its size to bulldoze every other vehicle on the road; the matatu will be on a mission to complete as many trips as possible so as to make the most money within the shortest time available; the Probox owner will be looking to get the freshly harvested Khat to the various destination points for their customers to enjoy the product while still fresh and the Subaru driver will be looking to impress the ladies with speed and adventure.
This reputation gained can either be positive or negative. And depending on which side of the spectrum you operate from, the value or lack thereof derived from each of these vehicles will vary. While the Matatu, Truck, Probox or Subaru may be a menace to the self-drive individuals, their speed (and perhaps recklessness) may be a welcome move to a passenger whose running late, businessperson looking to deliver product within a certain timeframe or the gentleman looking to outshine the boys.
Your reputation speaks for you whether you like it or not and just like everything else in life, there will be fans to either judge you or rally your behavior on. The important thing is to ensure you are projecting a reputation that you would be willing to defend to the grave.
Reputation has been defined as the subjective qualitative belief a person has regarding a brand, person, company, product, or service. According to an article by Daniel Threlfall of ReputationX, “there may be objective facts about you as a person, company, or brand. For example, you are a female or male. Your company has 18 employees. Your brand logo is a buffalo. Whatever. But those objective facts are not your reputation. Reputation goes beyond objectivity into the murky, unpredictable, volatile, and phantasmagoric dimension of subjectivity.”
Does building a good reputation matter?
Yes, having a good reputation helps build credibility, thereby opening more doors of opportunity. It takes time and continuous effort to nurture it to where it needs to be. While the vehicles above may have gained their reputation engaging in counterproductive activities, a good reputation needs positive exposure to manifest.
To build a good reputation, you must:
- Make the decision to intentionally build a good reputation. Your internal beliefs shape your actions and these actions can either have a positive or a negative effect on your reputation. Start by analyzing your internal belief system and determine if there are any beliefs that undermine your ideal reputation.
- Take continuous small steps / actions that will drive toward positive change. Start with the small visible actions that will compound to greater outcomes.
“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”—Benjamin Franklin
- Seek feedback from others. Have you ever been in a situation where everyone knows what is happening except you? Many are the times when we are blind to our own shortcomings, and it is the people around us who will help us see what’s holding us back. Be open enough to allow those who experience your reputation to give you their feedback.
- Manage the weak moments with grace. As human beings, we are prone to error, and it is natural to experience moments of weakness. How you handle such moments of crisis will determine how much your reputation holds.
- Support the community around you. There is a reason why all the billionaires in the world either have or support charity foundations. When you engage in good deeds, you not only do good for the society, you amplify your reputation.
Most importantly, in everything you do, please keep your word.
Guard your reputation and strengthen your Personal Brand today to #standout4growth.
In the next article, we explore practical steps on what to do when dealing with a damaged reputation.