Reputation Rules in Business (8/20/13)

Reputation Rules.   There are three (3) elements to reputation that are impacted in any business or organizational crisis (this applies equally so to personal and professional reputations of individuals as well).  C-suite executives, legal counsel and managers should all be focused on the following three reputational elements when a crisis or other critical issue emerges:

A.   Trust.  Are the services, products, people, quality, safety, processes to be trusted? (Are you trusted as a person, as a colleague, leader, manager?)

B.   Credibility. Is the business an expert in what it offers? Are its services, products, people better than the competitor? Is what it says about its services, products, people to be believed? (Do you have the credibility needed to get the job done? Do your direct reports view you as credible, so as to respect you?)

C.   Integrity. Does the business do the right thing? Does it adhere to a moral code of conduct? Does it value the right things, treat people well and act responsibly? (Do you do the right thing? Do your colleagues, superiors and friends consider you a morally-guided person?)

Keep in mind the above three elements as any crisis, critical issue or bet-the-company moment arises, and keep asking these three additional questions as you manage the situation:

1) How do trust, credibility of integrity impact the business;

2) What can been done to avoid damage to reputation; and

3) What needs to be done to restore reputation?