Reputation Resolutions for 2011

It’s that time of year again –  time to start thinking about how we can make 2011 NOT like 2010 by resolving to do things differently and, hopefully, better.

New Year’s resolutions typically go one of two ways: A. We pick goals which are so unrealistic and unachievable that we don’t need to even try to accomplish them; or B. We pick goals which are fairly realistic and achievable, and we diligently pursue them for approximately one month, when we start slacking and then ultimately forget about them altogether.

All kidding aside, there are some reputation resolutions that any organization or individual in the public spotlight would be wise to consider for the coming New Year. Here’s a few of them:

1. When in Doubt, Admit It

It doesn’t pay to pretend you have all the answers when you don’t. We saw this in 2010 with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. BP officials and others kept announcing solutions to cap the oil spill, only to see them fail one after another. This damaged the reservoir of trust and goodwill with the public. It’s always better to admit you are unsure of an outcome and then come out on top when you find the solution, rather than the other way around.

Costner offers his own ideas for cleaning up the Gulf

2. Value Your Stakeholders

Ayn Rand might be rolling in her grave, but we’re moving more and more toward a business culture which considers not just profits, but society and the environment priorities as well. The most important first step is identifying  your primary stakeholders, and showing that you are committed to them, and not just to your shareholders. You can read more about this in the current issue of The Mount Vernon Report, which will soon appear here.

3. Align your Vision with your Behavior and Performance

Gandhi famously said: “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” Replace happiness with good reputation and you’ve got a bulletproof equation for building a good reputation. Reputations are ultimately built on Vision, Purpose, Performance, and Behavior. When these are aligned, you’re on the right track. After all, you can’t get anywhere if you don’t know where you’re going… you’d be on a road to nowhere.

These are some resolutions that we at Morrissey & Company recommend, but don’t restrict yourself – you’ve got 365 days to make this year better than the last. And if you have your own resolutions to add, please write them below.

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