I recently spoke at a business owner summit and asked the audience how often they checked the finances of their company. The answers ranged from quarterly and monthly to weekly and daily. Then I asked them why they check their finances? Their answers included “to get a baseline”, “to properly forecast spending” and “to see if there are any problems that could be coming and prepare.” All very responsible answers, I told them!
Then, I asked “when was the last time you did a check on your reputation?” The room fell silent!
You see, the finances are an external measure while our reputations hit us personally. And, that usually freaks people out because it makes us vulnerable.
However, within vulnerability comes immense strength – if you have the courage to step into it in order to grow, evolve, and make an impact.
“It’s hard to read the label when you are inside the jar!”
While a Reputation Audit can be done for an organization, I’ll focus this on you, the individual!
Here are Four Key Steps to performing your personal Reputation Audit:
- Identify Your Core Group – Choose a small group of people that you trust will tell you what you need to hear, not just what you want to hear. Trust is critical for this exercise because when we know the intentions are for your growth, then we know the feedback is honest and for our greatest good! Ensure that these people represent different aspects of your life – work, social, faith, community, family.
- Communicate Your Goal & Ask Questions – These are individual conversations, so let them know that you want to check in on your reputation, that you want to ensure it’s strong or whatever your goal in this may be. Then have some questions ready to go, for example: “Do you know my values by the way we interact?” “Do my actions align with my values?” “Do I live into my commitments?” “Am I responsive?” “What is my reputation?” Since you will be getting answers from people in different areas of your life, you may begin to see trends where people are having/seeing similar experiences with you.
- Listen. Don’t Talk! – Stephen Covey once said that people often listen with the intent to reply, not with the intent to understand. Don’t try to “explain” your behavior when people are giving you feedback. Just listen and take notes. Again, this is where those behavior trends may start to emerge and you may see gaps and opportunities appear. Perhaps you realize that the decisions you rationalized as “not a big deal”, were in fact a big deal to those around you! You won’t know until you ask and listen.
- Make A Plan & Act – Now, gather the information and target one or two areas that you can begin to work on. Start with small steps to ensure that your actions and decisions are aligning with your values. By doing this, with consistency and over time, you can make an impact and then move on to other areas. Continue to think ‘long game’ on this! There is no quick fix – it’s about daily and intentional steps.
You can share your plan of action with your trusted friends so they know you took this seriously and they can help you stay on track. And, don’t be surprised if they ask you to do the same for them!
This is a high-level outline for an exercise to give you perspective and get you “outside of the jar” to help take you to new heights, both personally and professionally. With consistency, you will see your reputation strengthen and your influence grow.
I hope you step into this space of vulnerability to grow, evolve, and make an impact in your life and the lives of those around you!
Cheers to you!