Pounding Out Dents in Your Reputation

George Bernard Shaw wrote, "My reputation grows with every failure." That may have worked for Shaw, but not for the rest of us. Failure usually puts a dent in our reputation.

Pounding out that dent can be hard, unremitting work. But hard work alone won't get the job done. It also has to be honest work.

The greatest barrier to reputation restoration is an unwillingness by individuals and organizations to admit they made a mistake.

The next greatest barrier is the lack of courage to fix the mistake, so it doesn't recur.

Reputations accrue sometimes undeservedly, and they can be lost just as capriciously. In a world spinning without an axis, it shouldn't take a wise person long to figure out your reputation demands some quality personal attention.

What others think about you matters, especially when you face a crisis of some sort. How you react, more than what you did, often determines ultimate public perception. Many reputations soar when actions are taken in advance of a crisis to avoid a crisis – especially when those actions put customers and community first by enhancing safety or protecting the environment.

We all experience failure at some point. More people and organizations should experience the toil of pounding out the dents in their reputation caused by that failure. Sincere pounding will go a long ways toward having people once again admire your fender.