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Character & Reputation in the World of Business

| July 15, 2015
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When you work as a contributing member of the economy, you are often judged by your character and reputation. Do you know what these words really mean? More importantly, what role do they play in business?

Character & Reputation Defined

Both of these words have varying acceptable definitions, but generally speaking, when we are speaking to the character and reputation of a business or person, we mean:

 o   Character: A combination of mental characteristics and behavior that distinguishes a person or group. Also defined as morel strength and integrity.

o   Reputation: The general opinion or judgment of the public about a person or thing. Also described as the state or situation of being held in high esteem.

If you are having a difficult discerning a difference between the two, look no further than this great quote by NCAA Men's Basketball's greatest coach of all time: John Wooden. The man who led UCLA's men's program to nine national titles once famously said, "your reputation is who people think you are, your character is who you really are." His definition may be simple, but it is also the most accurate definition of these terms.

Character & Reputation in Business

A lot of people worry more about their reputation with co-workers, the public, their family, and friends than their personal character. Make no mistake, your reputation matters in the world of business. However, your character leads the way on a day-to-day basis.

Your reputation steers your ability to lead other people in the workplace. For those who do not know you personally, your reputation is what motivates them to follow you. Your reputation is built over the course of a long period of time, one brick at a time. Each word, action, and larger deed contributes to the construction of your reputation within a company or wider industry.

However, your reputation can be lost in a heartbeat when things go wrong. As a result, you must guard your reputation like a precious gift. What is built over the course of time can be lost in a matter of minutes (relatively speaking) with just one mistake. This is where character comes into the equation.

As Wooden stated, “your character defines who you really are”. Your personal character should be the foundation upon which you build your reputation. You cannot build a lasting reputation if it stands in direct conflict to your personal character.

For example, if you lead a company that expects employees to adhere to a strict code of moral conduct to protect the image of the company, but fail to abide by those standards in your personal life, your character will show through and destroy your reputation in an instant.

Character and Reputation on the Internet

Likewise if your business has a thriving social media community, but is somehow called into question by client or customer who is unhappy with products or services, how you handle negative feedback on popular social media sites like Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn shows the character of your business’s mission and can make or break your reputation in the eyes of your many followers.

Even when you can’t please every person, you can still represent your company and yourself with integrity and the enthusiasm to address even those things that you cannot change (past experiences) and turn those into opportunities for growth and future transformation.

Character and reputation are both important in the world of business. Just remember, while your reputation matters in building a business and an image for the company, your character will ultimately lead the way. Remember to conduct yourself with your ultimate goals in mind and your best foot forward, so that your reputation and your character build strength and endurance to last a lifetime and inspire beyond.


These are the views of Social Advisors, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.


Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. Richard L Farrar is a registered representative of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. Securities offered through Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a broker/dealer (Member SIPC). Investment advisory services offered through Sagemark Consulting, a division of Lincoln Financial Advisors, a registered investment advisor. Insurance offered through Lincoln affiliates and other fine companies.



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