Archives for June 2020

Reputation matters

Reputation takes a lifetime to build and mere seconds to lose. This is why your reputation and the reputation of your business matter in all you do during work hours and outside of those hours. This relates both to an overall picture of what others think and what you do that fits within those general thoughts, or not.

We all are ambassadors for the companies we work for. No role is bigger or smaller than other roles, just different. All roles are important and allow your business to function. It’s important to act in a manner that reflects well on you and your business to allow the business to function and to maintain its good reputation you have helped it earn.

Reputation is mainly is defined to two ways:

  1. the beliefs or opinions that are generally held about someone or something ; and
  2. a widespread belief that someone or something has a particular habit or characteristic.

I think the definitions are different, though connected. Your reputation clearly is what others in your circles or communities thing of you. An example could be that you have a reputation for being honest, charitable and a hard worker. At the same time, the beliefs of others are built on knowing your habits and characteristics that support such a reputation. An example of this is that each Saturday morning you volunteer at a local foodbank. Because of your habit to volunteer, part of your reputation is that you are charitable. What you do translates into who you are in your own eyes and the eyes of others.

Actions and inactions that can affect your reputation, and that of your business are numerous. Examples include not getting work done timely or within expectations, lying, or being careless on social media, even on your personal accounts. Do one or more of these and the response will be swift and negative.

On the other hand, when you do good, you have to continually do so for it to become part of your reputation. If you continually miss internal or external deadlines others at your business or the customers you need to succeed may not want to work with you again. If you volunteer each week, it may be months (if you are lucky) or more likely years before that habit becomes part of your broader reputation. It may not seem fair one bad act or mistake can follow you for a long time while doing good can take years to penetrate your community as to who you are, but knowing this should help guide choices you make.

Your reputation is built on peoples’ experiences with you. The reputation of your business is built on peoples’ experiences with you. We all deal with a broad group of people. This includes co-workers, clients, vendors, and people we deal with in our personal lives, from friends and family, to the person who cuts your hair or services your car. How you deal with and treat these different people reflects on you and your business.

Doing your best at all times is one way to work on and protect your reputation by doing things in a way that reflect well on you and your business, and positively affect the way others think of both. Once in a while, think about whether there are things you can do better at work or home. Then do your best and a good reputation will follow.

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Stay healthy for your business

Being healthy obviously is good for you. It also is good for your business. It gives you energy. You can work out with others, including people you work with, customers, referral sources, etc. It is what you make it, and that can turn into something powerful in your life.

People seemed to really get into exercise when the quarantines and stay at home orders started. As time has gone by (and it has gotten really hot where I live), the amount of people I see out exercising, even early morning, has significantly decreased. We all should make exercising part of our routine because it has huge benefits for your body, brain and mental health. And to your business, if you make it so.

Everyone seems to be losing a bit of focus as the pandemic continues. Exercise gives you something else to focus on. It also can help you find your center. Plus, we all can use stress relief in relation to our personal and professional lives.

Some people like to exercise by themselves. It can provide tome to think about your day, your work, relationships or whatever else may be on your mind. Others want to do so with others because it helps keep them accountable to show up and do their best. Or it may be for social reasons. You can exercise with the same person regularly or do different things with different people, from friends to family to business connections.

I have a partner who hikes with a woman she met professionally and who later became her friend. When they hike together the range of topics discussed run the gamut from personal to business, and they each have had business referred from the other over the years.

As we head into summer, it is as good a time as any to think about your health and what you can do to maintain it or improve it, as well as deepen connections if you choose to, like my partner has.  Don’t only think about this when coming up with New Year’s resolutions.  Whether changing your diet, exercising more or starting for the first time, do something.  Invest in yourself.

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Set and revisit goals

Do you set goals? You should, and they should be in writing. If you have, you should revisit them often to see where you are on the road to achieving your goals. Writing goals and not reviewing them will negatively affect your chance to reach them.

You need to write down your goals. I currently am outlining my goals because June is the fiscal year end for my firm. Everyone at my firm writes down SMART goals for the next fiscal year. We also have mentoring and accountability groups that meet throughout the year to discuss goals and help our people be in the best position to reach their goals.

You need to keep your goals where you can see them. I keep copies on my desk and on my computer desktop where I can see my goals every day and review them regularly. It can help to make a weekly or monthly calendar event to remind you to review your goals. 

Work on your goals. The idea is to set goals, review them and work on them.  Yes, work on them.  This is important planning and work. Doesn’t your career or business deserve your focus and attention?

Change your direction. I saw a great quote from Jim Rohn, which inspired my topic this week. He said “You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.” How true. So get on it and change your direction!

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Focus on one thing at a time

What are  you doing right now? Are you focusing on reading these words? Do you have an eye on your email, texts, or social media? If you are working from home, are you dealing with your children? Or maybe you are do some combination or all of these activities.  Or are you on the phone?  We all think we can multi-task and do it well, but the truth is we can’t.

How many times a day, when you are on the phone, can you hear the keyboard and mouse clicks on the other end of the line?  Are they taking notes or looking up something relevant to the conversation, or are they surfing Twitter or Facebook?  Or maybe they are reading an unrelated, substantive email? You know they weren’t listening when they ask you to repeat what you just said after you ask them a question because they don’t know what you asked.

Doing any of these activities while talking to someone on the phone is comparable to looking at your emails and texts while in a meeting or at lunch with someone. In both cases you are checked out and telling  the people speaking or who you are dining with that they are not as important as whatever is on your phone.

It simply is very hard to focus on two things (or more) at once.  Coming across as your best possible self or doing your best work matters. It’s your reputation and people remember.

For a week (or for those truly device or multi-tasking addicted, a day) try to focus on what is in front of you, whether a person or a project.  If you are heading into a meeting, don’t  bring  your phone or leave it in your pocket or purse. Better yet, turn it off. When you are on the phone, leave that mouse alone and keep things that interest you off of the screen(s) in front of you. If you have room and a wireless headset, get up and walk around focusing on the conversation.

This is about focus and respect. No one may know you are trying to multi-task other than you, but it is amazing what you learn when you actually listen.

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