“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.