If attitude reflects the intangible choices that you make regarding people and situations, behavior reflects the tangible choices you make which influence your reputation.
Behavior is easier to define than attitude, as we can see behavior more readily. While you can see some aspects of attitude (i.e., a smile on an optimistic colleague or a look of exasperation by a negative co-worker), behavior is where the “rubber hits the road.”
Behavioral psychologists suggest that if you really want to get to know what a person is really thinking, watch her behavior. Dr. Carl Jung, a noted psychologist is quoted as saying, “You are what you do, not what you say you will do.” More colloquially, you are familiar with the idioms, “Action speaks louder than words” and “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
Your daughter can promise you “six ways to sundown” that she will be home by 11:00 pm. Did she get home by 11:00 pm or did she provide you a litany of reasons as to why she was delayed? Did her actions speak louder than her words?
Every day you make behavioral choices that help or hurt your reputation. Behavior is what people hear or see when interacting with you and is comprised of the following two activities:
- What you say. Your behavior is defined by what, when, and how you say something.
- What you do. Your behavior is defined by what, when, and how you do something.
While “what you say” and “what you do” are independently important, how these activities relate to one another cannot be understated. At the intersection between what you say and what you do is integrity, the most important characteristic of a good reputation.
Numerous books and articles have been written focusing on the importance of integrity. College courses offer analyses of integrity, integrating examples from the past as well as the present. The idea of integrity as the foundation to a good reputation is an idea as old as reputation itself. Merriam-Webster Dictionary provides a number of synonyms for integrity, including character, decency, goodness, honesty, morality, probity, rectitude, righteousness, virtue, and virtuousness. In the Raise Your Visibility and Value model, when you operate with integrity you provide your reputation a strong foundation upon which to build. However, you define it, integrity exists when “what you say” and “what you do” are aligned.
It is important to acknowledge that another component of integrity is “how you think.” True integrity exists as the intersection of how you think about something, what you say about it, and how you behave in relationship to it. Since “how you think” is less behaviorally based, I will not be spending time in the area of thinking as it relates to integrity and reputation. The one area in respect to thinking that I do want to influence is in how you think about the idea of raising your visibility and value in your organization and industry. My goal is to ensure that your behavior is consistent when you work to build a good reputation.
Next we’ll take a look at how production influences your reputation.