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Reputation is a big important word in our society – it means a lot. Technically, it means “a favorable and publicly recognized name or standing for merit, achievement and reliability. Your reputation can be good or bad and it can defend you in times of need, support you in times of doubt and speak for you in certain instances.
Does your reputation make the headlines?
The University of Louisville Men’s Basketball program and its head coach Rick Pitino are dealing with a very large problem right now and it rests on reputations. A new book is making some wild accusations of hiring strippers, escorts and prostitutes to entertain the young basketball recruits (especially the blue chips). Of course the University has never heard of this and has launched an investigation. The author of the book is the “Madam” and chief organizer along with a former Assistant Coach named Andre McGhee. She has very detailed records of communications and payments to prove her case because she knows that no one is going to believe the reputation of an escort over a Head Coach or Assistant Head Coach with the University. Coach Pitino has over 30 years of experience but he’s had a few scandals of his own. One, as recently as 5 years ago, where he admitted to having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a woman outside of his marriage – the point being, his reputation is already damaged.
How about me?
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There have been times when I have had to rely on my reputation to defend me. For instance, before I graduated from Ohio State University, they actually denied my application for admission. Then they decided to review my case. I was not allowed to attend the case review so I had to rely on my reputation in the community and my academic record to pull me through. Lucky me, looks like my reputation was able to bail me out.
What about at work?
Have you ever had to investigate an issue at work? Yeah, you have and it seems each person has a very different perspective on what actually happened. Often times you must rely on the consistencies in the stories and the reputation of those involved. There goes that word again, “reputation.” Today we use words like “Corporate Brand” and “Branding” all the time but that is just another way of saying “reputation”. I love Nikes. I am brand loyal because their shoes always fit fantastically and they look great – Nike has an amazing reputation. I buy them for kids in my family. If someone says something bad about Nike around me, I am quick to defend them because in my mind, Nike’s reputation is awesome.
What does your reputation say about you?
Finally, understand that the ways you deal with people, solve issues and communicate are part of your reputation. Sometimes people say things like, “Dewanne is stubborn!” or “He’s an a**hole” while someone else may say, “That doesn’t sound like the Dewanne I know.” If your reputation is bad, it can hurt you – for a very long time. Someone will probably give you a chance because they want to see if you are as good or bad as advertised, so yeah, they will give you a shot. In our business of talent management and human capital management, we like to give people chances. We want to find that diamond in the rough candidate, we want that one person that seems like a long shot; the game changer. We ignore all the warning signs about their reputation and give them a chance, but in the end, it just doesn’t work out.