Do you have a reputation to protect? Or do you just have a reputation? Very different concepts.
Some may be downright nasty. Think wife-beaters. Or tattoo-covered bikers with a penchant for too much alcohol, drugs and brawling. Or those who are just too dumb or too lazy to achieve anything. (Add your own category of undesirables. Plenty to go around.)
In the vast middle of society, many are going through the motions, just getting by. Nothing good, bad or even particularly memorable.
Then there’s the rest of us. You worked hard to get where you are. You’re proud of what you achieved, loathe to fritter it away by idleness, and won’t let it be stolen by a careless moment or word.
You would give up a lot else before surrendering even a whit of your reputation. You sacrificed to get here, and you have neither the time nor the strength to do it over again.
Sadly, what you so arduously built is unlikely to outlast you by long. It’s a concept that’s persisted throughout history and across cultures: One generation creates fame and fortune. The next reaps the benefits. The third — having no recollection of earlier struggles — becomes soft and squanders it. Not always true, but often.
All generations are susceptible to having their reputations tarnished. But the potential damage is most severe when it’s the first. They’re the originators, the creators. For better or worse, they’re on a pedestal — either admired for their genius or vilified for their ruthlessness. They have farther to fall, and the public will be less forgiving.
Subsequent generations may also sin. But they’ve achieved less, and less is expected of them. They’re not held to as high a standard, and the repercussions of their missteps aren’t as great.
Of course, threats to reputation aren’t limited to those who’ve achieved renown. They hover over all of us. The most prudent protect ourselves before the damage happens. The rest reach out for Crisis & Reputation Management help after the threat turns into reality.
“Because Reputation Is Your Most Valuable Asset”
Gillott Communications is a Los Angeles-based public relations firm that specializes in high-stakes Crisis & Reputation Management. If you don’t already subscribe, please sign up for our blog Insights on High-Stakes PR. You can reach Roger Gillott directly at 310-826-8696.