From Joe Paterno to Penn State and now Bernie Fine to Syracuse University, reputations once thought of as impenetrable are falling faster than the leaves in my back yard. As a result, individuals and the organizations who sign their massive pay checks are scrambling to defend their now tarnished reputations before the damage becomes overwhelming.
Every second that these entities — and many others who have been in similar situations in the academic and corporate worlds (the latest being Olympus Corp.) — spend reeling from what feels like a sucker punch is time that should be spent putting their reputation management plan into action instead.
If only they had one.
In many instances, a simple and straightforward organizational reputational assessment would have provided them with what they need to take immediate corrective action.
We like to tell our clients that reputation is their company’s most valuable asset.
And we agree with Dave Logan, a USC faculty member and author of Tribal Leadership, who says: Remember that your reputation is about you, but it isn’t your property. It’s owned by the tribe around you. So when you ask about your reputation … you’re asking about something that isn’t yours.
We developed an assessment tool that helps clients evaluate how their organization is managing, protecting and advancing their reputation. And we encourage you to use it. No charge.
The tool helps answer 1, how well your company currently manages its reputation, 2, how important reputation is to your company and the market you serve, and 3), what areas your company can improve to advance performance.
- Does your company know who their primary stakeholders are?
- Does your company know what drives its reputation across stakeholder groups?
- Does your company make an effort to monitor customer satisfaction?
- Do the decision making leaders of your company consider the impact their decisions will have on the reputation of the company?
- How well does your company leverage key executives with media to raise their profile/the company’s reputation?
- Does your company have a structured approach to identifying, evaluating, managing and reporting issues and events that impact your company’s reputation?
- Does your company currently monitor its reputation through social media forums?
- Do employees understand the company’s overall mission, vision, business strategy, and their respective impacts on building reputation?
- In the next two to five years, do you see your company’s reputation becoming more of a business priority, less of a business priority, or its level of significance remaining the same?
- What is the most important aspect of communication to your company (reputation, branding, public relations, investor relations, other)?
In light of recent events, and those that are sure to follow, you can be sure many organizations and their leaders are taking a hard look in the mirror. If they don’t like what they see, then there’s no time like the present to address what needs to be fixed.