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Reputation and Character

Reputation and Character

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Published by John Narang

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Published by: John Narang on Mar 19, 2012
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05/13/2014

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REPUTATION AND CHARACTER
BYBILL SWEETENHAMWhen being the best is not enough but when being both the best person for the job as well asbeing a good person is what matters. It is important to know the difference. In today’scutting edge corporate and business world, it is now widely accepted that technical andbusiness knowledge is accessible and available through the internet and experienced educatedstaff. The world recession has shown that it is not this knowledge that is the differencebetween success and failure when challenged by cliff-edge balancing of “do or die” whenfaced with troubled times.It has always been a strong belief that in order to be successful and sustain repeatable,consistent success in the corporate and sporting world, great leaders surround themselveswith the very best people in terms of knowledge of the product, performance relatedstrategies, and time at task, innovation and creativity.It is the old story – know what you know, know what you don’t know - and whilstappreciating both of the above, identify and recruit people who have the knowledge of knowing what you don’t know. It is quite obvious when reviewing the performance factors of companies that were forced to shed serious numbers of staff, review salary cuts of chief executives or who required government intervention with funding support in order to survivein the difficult and challenging world of the recent recession that you also had to surroundyourself with people who were not only the best, but were “good people”. Smart companiesvalue both the “best” and “good” and these are not always one and the same.
 In what ways can this be determined?
 Character is the foundation of reputation. Character is revealed and built on in times of conflict, challenge and adversity. Given that people have basically two lives – that is, theirpersonal and their professional life –for the truly successful people who are working in acutting edge environment, they are closely inter-related, multi-dimensional and totallyintegrated.
Quality personal life + value added educated professional life = success
Making change in this equation or sustaining this equation requires change, and change isdependent on learning. Learning can come from experience and education. Change is alsoextremely personal in that you cannot change without open-minded willingness. No-one canchange an individual and very few can change others. The environment of change withchallenge is often the missing element in unsuccessful people, companies and teams.Two values of reputation and character of the individual in both personal and professional lifeplay a deciding factor in the make-up of a team, department or company. Givingconsideration to reputation, we find that there are many aspects of reputation.
 
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 Public perception
This is where the public is exposed to the team, the company and the person will decide veryquickly on the reputation and the perception it portrays publicly. It must be remembered thatperception becomes the reality and nothing more so when it is applied to reputation.
Team reputation
Within a company, there will be teams and/or departments who can very easily be drawn intoconflict with each other and this can reduce the productivity of the organisation. When oneteam or department considers that they are in conflict with either another team or thedirection and value of the company, then the company will suffer. This is where teams anddepartments can devalue the reputation of another inter-related group within the teamorganization.The reverse applies where teams that are competitive and value each other’s reputation willfortify and strengthen the company values and the reputation of all will be enhanced.
 Family perception
It is extremely important to an individual to have the family value the reputation of thecompany that other members of the family are preoccupied with. Loyalty of a family to anyone member’s reputation within a company or the company’s reputation and the personalpride associated with this is a great motivating factor.
Trust, personal pride, respect and  reputation in this aspect as in most is one and the same and invaluable to performance and  productivity.
 As an example, where a member of a family is employed by the Police Force, Ambulance orDefence Forces etc. and where that reputation of the organisation is damaged or hurt bypublic perception, then trust and morale are damaged by the reputation of that organisation.The reverse applies and must be worked at continually. The family (personal) and work (professional) environmental domain of both must be a safe and supportive one. Mistakeswill be made and continue to be made, and the provision of a safe environment for teammembers is essential.
Work colleagues’ perception of your reputation
Where work colleagues value the reputation of each other, then team building is very easilybuilt and everyone and their role is valued. It is important that the reputation of each work colleague is supported and promoted to each other by a team concept. The stronger this bond,the greater the productivity of the organisation. Any individual feeling that they are abovethe team or corporation will destroy trust, self-pride and the reputation of the team and bondswithin and outside it. The best and good people, accustomed to challenge do not seek or wishfor pampering, privilege, indulgence or special treatment and as such, are seen to possesscharacter and thus create a superior reputation. More often than not, they become leaders.Correctly or incorrectly, personal growth in all areas can be proportionately related tocharacter, then reputation. Character is all about placing the team ethic on equal footing withpersonal positive reputation.
Opposition reputation
The perception of the opposition to the company that you work for and the reputation of teams within that organisation is extremely important to how they see and value yourreputation. This is important as most companies, teams and individuals take personal pride inperforming against an opposition who has a strong reputation and the “feel good” factor of 
 
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performance and preparation under pressure against a strong adversary is crucial to optimalperformance and maximisation of reputation.Whilst working with teams, departments and organisations, it is very rare but extremelyvalued that companies, businesses and teams within the organisation as well as individualsenjoy both the value of all aspects of reputation as listed above and have strong leadershipand company structures, systems and strategies that promote and respect reputation.Reputation is built on respect for your opposition, consideration for all those with whom youwork and understanding the values that you display to others. Reputation is clearly howothers perceive you, whilst character is what you know you are. Character can be developedor built. Strong characters enjoy strong reputations from all of the above. However, the 1%difference where character and reputation are different will only become evident under theextreme pressure of team or company struggle, challenge or failure due to whatever reason –recession, ineffective leadership, poor decision-making, lack of trust etc.Character is identified, developed and discovered in preparation and performance in times of adversity and when under pressure. This is when reputation is built, and provides theopportunity to balance both character and reputation of the best and good people. It is onlythen that winning becomes possible and the only considered option.Companies as well as individuals will thrive when all in the organisation understand that theyare not only the best people, they are good people. This is when success is truly measured byan individual and an organisation. When all of the above are accumulative and in unison andare one and the same, contentment of direction, inner peace and harmony will be achieved bythe varying individuals that make up an organisation.Whether small or big, organizations today will face many challenges where a leader’spositive character and reputation can provide a winning edge. Some of these challenges are :
 
developing and sustaining a winning environment that can lead as well as survive in timesof change
 
leading and handling a varied and multi-cultural workforce
 
managing and leading talented individuals within a team dynamic
 
staying ahead of other organizations and leaders within the field of operation –innovation/creativity
 
identifying and profiling the next level of personnel and technology
 
winning after winning – avoidance of complacency
 
life in a goldfish bowl where both reputation and character can limit or enhanceperformance through transparency of operation
 
Compromise or delayed leadership in any of the above can harm the efficiency andsmooth running of all staff and team morale where reputation and character can bequestioned.In summary, the personal and the professional reputation must be in harmony with the bestpeople who are also good people. This is what strong leadership and company ethics providewhen building invincible teams. Strong characters working as a team establish strongreputations. It is very easy whilst being extremely flawed and unproductive for a company ororganization to only appreciate and value the reputation of an individual’s talent and skill intheir professional life. The other areas mentioned in this must be recognised, developed and

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