Blog with Joel Brookman



I just finished a complete renovation of my home. When the project began I hired a General Contractor. I hired him because he seemed like a very honest man. I believed that he would do quality work and be judicious with my money. A few months in, I became suspicious of his billing practices. I hired a forensic General Contractor to review the project. He confirmed my suspicions. We fired our GC and completed the project without him. As I write this, we are preparing to file a formal complaint against him. I’ve reached out to provide him the opportunity to make things right. This becomes a pivotal moment for him. Does he choose to take responsibility for his errors, or does this become a situation that negatively impacts his reputation and potentially his livelihood. I’ll know the answer later this week. In business, nothing is more critical then your reputation. We spend a lifetime building it, and in one moment it can be destroyed.

Multiple studies suggest that people are twice as likely to tell others about bad experiences over good ones. Now that social media and apps like Yelp, Amazon, and Angie’s List are part of our daily lives, it’s more important than ever to be sure people are satisfied. According to Dimensional Research, people who had a negative experience were 50% more likely to share it on social media than those who had good experiences. They are also 52% more likely to share it on an online review site such as Yelp. Another study found that 86% of people that read bad reviews say that the information affected their decision to purchase. The customer is not always right, but in most cases it is cheaper to placate them than to allow them to go away angry. In the end it’s about minimizing your losses and keeping your reputation intact.

Jim Rohn suggests that, “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If your friends have bad reputations you run the risk of being painted with the same brush. Associate yourself with people with similar moral values and if possible, create some distance between those that fall below that moral line. Choose your friends wisely as they can have an impact on your reputation.

Alcohol has a way of removing our inhibitions. The removal of inhibitions in certain situations has the potential to destroy reputations. Company holiday parties have lead to the demise of many careers. I’ve known several people who destroyed their reputations by having too many drinks. Someone will drink too much and say the wrong thing to the wrong person, or they’ll be the one with the lampshade on their head at the end of the night. The risk-reward on heavy drinking with business associates is not good. There is very little upside and tremendous downside. By the time we get into our careers we should have an understanding of where the line is. If that line is unpredictable for you, stick to club soda or non-alcoholic beer. A couple of drinks are probably ok, but when you start hitting on the boss’s wife, you’ve passed the point of no return.

You have a tremendous amount of control over your reputation. Exercise that control by making good decisions. Go out of your way to ensure that the people with whom you do business are satisfied. If they are not, do everything in your power to rectify the situation. Associate yourself with people that share your values. If you feel the need to release your inhibitions, do it in the presence of close friends or family, and not around those that can impact your livelihood. One bad decision can have an irreparable impact on your reputation.

Posted by Joel Brookman in reputation.


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