Fear is not an irrational thing that only crazy people experience. It’s real. But as a guide for strategic reputation management, we can consider it our enemy. With a fear-based approach, we anticipate the worst from everyone: our customers, our employees, our business partners. Our planning is centered on expecting a bad outcome.
In a culture of fear and suspicion, your organization’s reputation doesn’t stand a whisper of a chance. As a communicator, you are a slave to artificially propping up your reputation as you attempt to spin away one problem after another. Fear brings on blame, disrespect and disengagement. Sure, it’s a job, but it’s a dark place to be. So how do you climb out?
The biggest gift you can get is a leader who has the skill and talent to take that mass of darkness and shape it into a living and thriving place to be. And even if you don’t have that special leader, you still have all of the rest of your colleagues. Much like an organism, your organization needs light. That light comes in the form of honesty and transparency in your strategy, not just your one-off communications. It’s amazing how little there is to fear if we put ourselves out there. People are kinder when you’re honest, more understanding of your mistakes, more delighted by your successes. Once you remove the fear, you have the ability to connect to your audience, share the excitement of your plans, engage your audience in your future, apologize when you’ve done wrong.
Read through the articles in this issue and learn how managing your reputation really means creating a culture of honesty and transparency. Tackle the fear and you’re one step closer....
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