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Define your values

In an increasingly digital world where information and the media are at everyone’s fingertips, reputation has become a growing factor in success. A tarnished reputation, whether spread across the world’s media or simply within a specific community or business sector, can bring down an individual or a business. What’s more, in the rush to become successful, it’s often something that is forgotten until it’s too late. This is why it’s very important to manage your reputation from the start.

The best way to do this is to lay down a series of values early on that will determine how you deal with others, whether friends, family, colleagues or customers. To build a good reputation and maintain it, these values should be set in stone and never be compromised. They should be an ethical barometer for your actions and eschew fair play in everything you do.

Achieving success by any means, foul or fair, can always come back to haunt you, as well as leaving a hollow, empty feeling when you have realised your vision. The global economic crisis that resulted from unethical behaviours will have repercussions for generations. The short-term gains experienced by individuals in the financial world has resulted in serious mistrust of the institutions, along with an erosion of the moral fibre of society – individuals that enjoyed strong personal reputations overnight became the enemies of the nation. Similarly, athletes taking the fast track to success by using performance-enhancing drugs end up paying a heavy price personally and professionally.

Success should never involve you compromising your values and your most fundamental beliefs of what is right and wrong. Achieving success should be done in a way that breeds long-term sustainable growth and in no way leaves any third party feeling abused, hurt or humiliated. Your values are an internal policing mechanism that governs what you consider to be right and wrong. Doing the right things in whatever you do will always pay long-term dividends.

It’s very important to manage your reputation from the start.

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