“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” – Henry Ford
Anyone who decides to improve upon his present reputation must first face the harvest of his past actions. The seeds sown in the past will continue to sprout in the field of his responsibility for some time, so initially he has the double task of planting new, correct, righteous seeds while winnowing the chaff from the salubrious grain.
The challenge which invariably comes while separating the harvest is that others will continue to identify him with the quality of his former planting long after he upgrades the quality of his sowing. At this point he is promising himself and others that he is going to do things differently, but in reality he has done little to recondition the soil, let alone plant different seeds.
Just as with farming, reconditioning the soil may take years. As he is faithful, his reputation will be reshaped by what he has done. Actions do indeed speak far louder than words, but there is always the matter of time. Character development is an organic process.
3 thoughts on “Reputation Management”
This is such an important thing to understand. It is vital not to get discouraged when this happens. If you think about it, it would be like getting discouraged if the seeds you planted yesterday weren’t full-fledged plants today! In the same vein, while you might no longer be growing a garden full of weeds, you might not be at the point where you are getting the prize for the biggest plant at the fair… However, the good news is that with diligence and consistency, any soil can be brought up to snuff over time.
Reputation is a complex matter, because it involves not only the reality of one’s expression but also the myriad impressions of that expression with their widely varied proportions of actuality! Perhaps the most comforting element in that is that reality tends to reveal itself over time, while false impressions, as intense as they may be sometimes, do not have the backing of truth and will eventually be displaced.
What you point out with respect to establishing reputation is so crucial, and the attitudes of resentment or overconcern about apparently incorrect impressions just muddies the waters further.
It’s a sentence that is served by ourselves; but luckily you can get time off for good behavior. The upside is you can actually become the person you’ve wanted to.