How to make your reputation reputable

Today every online transaction will be swayed to some degree by a measure of something intangible, temporary and yet utterly priceless. Online reputation is becoming even more valuable than money or power. Your decision to buy from an online seller or just to read an article on a social networking app are all approved or denied by a jury of your peers before you even get a say. World leaders are born on Twitter these days so doesn’t it make sense that the business world would be scaling up these micro-transactions to take advantage?

Well, no, not as much as you’d think.

The way to build your reputation remains refreshingly similar to the way it ever was, whether you’re a middle manager, CEO or starting your own network marketing venture. Give your customers what they want, talk to them about what you’ve been up to, treat your staff fairly.  Add value to their lives, whether there’s a sale there is not.

But these days losing that reputation can be much swifter and more decisive than building it ever was. If as much as 80% of a company’s assets may be entirely intangible, all as vulnerable to the vagaries of public whim as a forest in a heatwave, why don’t company risk management documents reflect this properly?

There are a few logical ways to build a stand-out reputation.

How are you perceived right now?

Before you can start shaping your reputation you need to identify what you have to work with: how do people perceive you right now? Draw up a shortlist of people in your close network whom you trust. These people could be bosses, colleagues or wider business contacts. Say you’re doing some personal development and ask them for three words that describe you. Or simply ask them what they think of you in a few sentences. Gather this information and be brave enough to digest the feedback, good or bad.

Create a picture

With the feedback you’ve acquired, you’ll see what your current reputation is. Break it down into down technical abilities, career achievements and how people perceived you on an interpersonal level.

Re-position your reputation

Everything needs to join up, from your character traits and values, to skills and talents. Make sure all your online and social profiles reflect what stakeholders and colleagues typically say or think about you.

Become reliable

You may have some negative perceptions to overcome. Two of the best reputation builders are reliability and consistency. Keep your promises and your commitments. Do exactly what you said you’ll do, when you said you’ll do it. This is universally the simplest and most important act anyone building a reputation or relationship will be judged upon.  

Associate with the right people

They say you become who you spend time with. The people you associate with say a lot about you. So get around good people. Consider recruiting your own personal board of advisors – a blend of mentors, specialists, sponsors, door-openers and influencers and introduce people to each other.

Take it another step

After you’ve followed the steps above, take it one step further. Deliver a project in half the expected time. Send a hand-written thank you card. People always remember how you made them feel so always give a bit extra.