Changing your Reputation

Crea fama y eschate a dormir

Literally, “Create fame and lay down to sleep”. After about 30 minutes of Tea Bog Beet Knee explanations, I finally understood the use of this expression in Spanish and will hopefully be more successful in explaining it here (with fewer words 😀 ).

Essentially, once you have created your fame — your reputation — there is little you can do to change it.  Actions you take that attempt to change it are about as effective as laying down to sleep.

ReputationSmAn earlier entry talked about the importance of first impressions, but your reputation is the sum of the early impressions.  The subsequent impressions have less and less effect on the total.  They refine, they don’t change.

Because we have a tendency to look for information that agrees with our assessments (we are heavily biased to believe and remember data that confirms our hypothosises rather than conflicts with them), it becomes difficult for us to chnage our impressions of people.

This can be both good and bad.  If you build a solid reputation for delivering on your commitments or for creating great results, missteps are forgiven and forgotten.  If, however, your fame is of ill repute, even little missteps are amplified when you decide to change.  It can be easier to start over with a new group of people than to continue trying to change the minds of those around you.

It also means that we need to force ourselves to reconsider previous conclusions about people and relationships. Do you have an employee that has grown a great deal in your organization?  Are you evaluating them still through the lenses of them as a beginner or are you able to see them as a new person would? When someone is not performing, and you work with them to improve their performance, are you able to set aside the opinion you had earlier and to be objective?

Both counts are hard, but you can lose loyal talented employees if you aren’t trying to force yourself to change.

Reputations have inertia and can’t change in and of themselves.  The require people who have judged the reputation to force themselves to reevaluate.






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