Managing Your Reputation Today

Managing Your Reputation Today

Reputations back in the “old days”

While the importance of a good reputation is not new, the environment in which you are working to build a good reputation is. Twenty years ago, your reputation as a business professional was confined to the experiences of individuals with whom you interacted within your organization or shared experiences with at industry meetings.

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Professional Risks

Raise Your Visibility & Value: What Professional Risks Do Change and Transparency Create for You

The frequency and pace of change in your organization, the exponential growth of your professional transparency, your lack of energy to connect with others while employed (visibility), and your lack of energy regarding your performance assessment (value), all create professional risks for you. With increased turbulence in your organization resulting in roles, responsibilities, and relationships changing with great frequency, your ability to benefit from the development of organic relationships (ones that grow naturally over time) or purposeful relationships (ones that you proactively create with a goal in mind) is being seriously eroded.

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Professional Transparency in an Organization

Raise Your Visibility & Value: Professional Transparency in an Organization

Even another reason networking while employed and performance appraisals are becoming increasingly ineffective is the explosive growth in professional transparency. As recently as seven years ago, unless the subject of your search was your favorite movie star, rock star, or politician, your ability to find details about another individual was challenging. This was not due to your faulty research skills – information about an average individual simply did not exist publicly. In fact, information about others was so absent in the not-too-distant past, the thought of seeking out personal or professional details regarding another person would not have even occurred to you.

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Ed Evarts

Raise Your Visibility & Value: What Influences a Reputation?

Your reputation is built on a never ending series of choices that you make, every minute of every day. And in today’s transparent and frenetic organizations, your choices are seen by more of your colleagues, and faster, than ever before.

Today’s ever-changing organizations demand that you be in charge of your reputation. Every Facebook post you choose to generate, sound bite you choose to create, and decision you choose to make will potentially be seen or heard by thousands of colleagues in your organization and industry. Your choices are your reputation. In my work with my clients and during my career, I have observed that reputations are influenced by four areas – articulation, attitude, behavior, and production.

More about each influence coming soon.

Ed Evarts

Raise Your Visibility & Value: The Impact of Change on Reputation

Imagine a situation where you are attempting to be a “work-in-progress” in an environment that is always changing. It’s like learning to play golf in the midst of a hurricane. Learning to play golf is hard, even on a beautiful day. Surviving a hurricane is hard, even with tremendous preparation. Mesh golf lessons (always being in “beta”) and a hurricane (your fast-changing environment) together and chaos will reign.

At the same time, the proliferation of professional transparency is creating new ways for individuals to develop an opinion about you. You can now share information about yourself in endless ways (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, blogging), most of which do not even require you to be physically present. Individuals that you have never met, and may never meet, can find information about you faster than the time it took you to read this sentence.

Additionally, the nexus of the growth in the ways that you can share information about yourself and the number of opinions that can be developed about you is exploding. More about that to come!

Ed Evarts

Raise Your Visibility & Value: Start with Your House in Order

During my tenure as an author, speaker, and leadership coach, many of my colleagues are curious how I got my practice started. Many of you may not realize that I started my business from “square one.” I did not know I was going to be laid-off from Iron Mountain and I had zero plans to start an independent practice.

When I think back on how I got my practice started, I share the following thoughts with my colleagues:

  • Ensure your significant-other supports your transition. One of the two things that will end your transition from corporate to consulting is your significant-other, looking at you across the breakfast table, telling you that he/she needs you to get a job.
  • Have a strong financial foundation. The second thing that will end your transition is a financial crisis. Anyone transitioning from corporate to consulting needs to have a strong financial foundation for at least three to five years. You will need it!
  • Be transparent about your wins and losses. Hiding how you are doing (or not doing) can be a very easy behavior. This only leads, however, to others believing you are achieving more than you are. Always be transparent with your significant-other regarding how you are doing, what is working, and what is not working.
  • Create best-in-class materials. Great artifacts of your work will lead others to believe what you are doing is great. Second-class materials (generally created to save money in the short-term) will lead others to believe what you are doing is second-class.
  • Always be optimistic and persistent. I started my practice during our most recent recession in 2008. It would have been easy for me to blame the economy and quit. Yet, because my wife supported me, we were financially sound, I was transparent with her, and I invested in best-in-class materials, I was able to make the turn.

You are more likely to be successful if you have a strong foundation and start with your house in order.

What is Meant by Professional Transparency in Your Organization?

Networking while employed and performance appraisals are becoming increasingly ineffective due to the explosive growth in professional transparency. As recently as seven years ago, unless the subject of your search was your favorite movie star, rock star, or politician, your ability to find details about another individual was challenging. This was not due to your faulty research skills – information about an average individual simply did not exist publicly. In fact, information about others was so absent in the not-too-distant past, the thought of seeking out personal or professional details regarding another person would not have even occurred to you.

Today, individuals you have never met, from anywhere on the globe, are instantly finding out more about you than any other time in human history. Whether they are at their desk in a towering glass office building, sequestered in their basement at their suburban home, or lounging at their favorite cappuccino bar, they can instantly access volumes of information about you with only a few keystrokes. Fortunately, some of this information is beneficial to your profile. Unfortunately, some of this information you would prefer to keep private.

Recently, I attended a social media presentation that was hosted by the president of a regional marketing organization. To show the power of Google, one of his colleagues googled the president’s name as the president was speaking, and a lot of information appeared behind him on a screen. Unfortunately, one of the items on the screen was a link to a court document detailing his recent divorce. Although it was in clear view to the audience, this leader never turned around to see the link and his colleague never said a word. I doubt that this is information he would have chosen as a backdrop during his presentation!

At the same time, you are able to tell people about yourself with greater ease than ever before. If you go back a few short years, before Facebook and Google, the ways to share information about your accomplishments and background were limited to a resume. Your primary strategy was face-to-face, one-by-one conversations with others. Transparency was low. With technology like Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, and YouTube, you have the ability to increase your personal and professional transparency and instantly share information about yourself with millions of people.

At the same time, organizations across the globe are seeking ways to increase employee transparency. Technology is providing organizations the ability to build internal platforms (ala Facebook and LinkedIn) that allow their employees to build a profile and share information about themselves that are critical to the business. Employees can post a picture, and list their competencies, certifications, degrees, sample projects, work history, and interests. Internal decision makers, hiring managers, and colleagues can subsequently mine for talent internally before looking externally.