By Ian Berry
CSP FAIM [copy] 2009 All rights reserved
Many so called leaders in the financial services industry have their reputations in tatters. I am unaware of any executives in this industry who have successfully communicated to their stakeholders that they are profoundly sorry and will do whatever it takes, morally and legally, to restore trust and confidence. Please let me know if you know someone who has successfully communicated and is willing for their story to be told. I very much want to share such good news.
Our reputation affects our business growth, make no mistake; and maintaining and enhancing our reputation are core components of brand integrity.
Here are 9 key ways to maintain and enhance your reputation:
1) Take the action suggested in my previous article
i.e. Find out what all your stakeholders demand, desire, and feel they deserve, promise to deliver, and deliver.
2) Take action quickly whenever you fall short of your promises to stakeholders
Nobody is perfect and you will fall short of stakeholder expectations from time to time. The key is to fix whatever is wrong and restore confidence quickly and efficiently.
3) Modify or change delivery system/s quickly
When you do fall short of your promises make sure you modify or change your delivery system/s as soon as possible where appropriate in order to avoid the repeating of past mistakes.
4) Make the most of mistakes
Have a mistakes policy that means you review the learnings from all mistakes made.
Share these learnings with all stakeholders effected.
5) Empower people
At all key transaction and interaction points of your business empower your employees to solve problems and make decisions on the spot. This encourages accountability and the faster resolution of challenges.
6) Always be honest and transparent
The moment you try and cover something up, it is all down hill from there.
7) Focus on relationships
If you are aware that you have a reputation with someone that is less than desired, take steps immediately to rectify. And remember, reputation is a key component of communication. Reputation will override body language, tone, and words, every time. When we have a poor reputation in the eyes of others, they cannot hear what we say.
What we must do wherever possible to restore our reputation is rebuild the relationship with the person/people concerned. We begin the process by asking permission to rebuild the relationship regardless of what circumstances caused the breakdown in the first place.
8) Never confuse problems with people or personalities
When we focus on the problem and not on the person most of the challenges we face can be met very quickly.
9) Use the media effectively
The reason why the media reports bad news more than good is that bad news stories are easier to come by! Help out journalists by regularly providing them with stories of how you faced a challenge and overcame it for the good of all concerned.
How well are you managing your reputational risk?
Ian Berry is speaking at R is for Recovery, a one-day event produced in association with The Academy for Chief Executives and aimed squarely at owners and directors from businesses employing between 5 and 250 people.
Ian Berry CSP FAIM is a writer and international business speaker on how doing good is great for business and the CEO of Remacue® a project leader and partner for organisa-tions wishing to increase the percentage of employees fully engaged in their work thereby guaranteeing productivity improvements. He is the Difference Makers Director for Fresh Business Thinking and the Founder of The Differencemakers Community.
Ian welcomes your emails firstname.lastname@example.org