Posts Tagged ‘perception’

Reputation… what’s that?

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Reputation is a thing of two parts, the things that we do, and the things people say about them.  If I was going to be more accurate, I would add that the key thing is not just the things that we do, but how others perceive them!  These days managing this is a multi-billion dollar industry.  The idea is that by controlling the media they can modify what others perceive and therefore say about us.  I guess, like they say, money talks, and they think it tells us how to think.  However, I’d like to suggest a more fundamental focus, and ask you to focus on the first element… what you do.

If you do the right things, and even better, if you do them for the right reasons, then that makes not only a statement, but builds a truly solid foundation for your reputation.  Hopefully these actions spring from the core of who you are, hence the current attention to the importance of authenticity.  There is an exercise that can be quite telling, and that is getting you to write your own obituary.  If you don’t like it, or don’t feel it is enough, now is the time to change and do something different, or something more!

I would suggest that you don’t so much ‘manage’ your reputation as build it, in the same sense that a mason builds a wall, based on solid foundations, with things that have substance.  One thing you can do is to see if what you are doing is valued by those whose good opinion you seek.  In other words, if you are focusing your efforts and resources on things they don’t care about then they are unlikely to hold you in high regard.  Make a difference to their lives or businesses and you’ll be a hero! 

The second element of influencing what people say is more subtle.  I would suggest a key is explaining your plans and actions in language they can understand and in terms of things they care about.  For example, an MD talking to his workers should be talking about growth in terms of bonuses and job security not share price.  One might lead to the other but don’t expect your audience to make that leap.  Also they will, probably rightly, assume the things you talk about are what you care about.  Tell them the truth, clearly, and you will earn respect, if not popularity, and that is a step in the right direction!

“Sincerity – if you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”  George Burns

Venus..a new look

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

This picture of Venus was created by NASA using radar data.  I find it an amazing new look at our closest neighbour, albeit 70 million miles distant.  Seeing something old in a new light is one path to understanding.  I often consider this ‘new light’ to be the Mother of Change.  We all see our world, our business and our neighbours through a series of filters such as our past experience, our old judgements and our beliefs but all these cloud the truth just as Venus’ atmosphere clouds from our view.  Dispel these clouds and it is surprizing what shines out…

At the beginning of  this new year, maybe it is time to see something close to you in a new light?  I’d love to hear from you of any relevant thoughts or actions…

“History is malleable. A new cache of diaries can shed new light, and archaeological evidence can challenge our popular assumptions.”  Ken Burns  

Resources:  Reality Model


Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Regular readers will know that I have recently been installing filtration into our pond.   It is one of those jobs that is conceptually very simple, but the devil is the detail!  It requires quite a lot of skill to ensure that it not only works but looks nice too.  It pumps in the dirty water through a clever array of mechanical and biological filters to remove not only the solids in suspension but to convert the waste products of the fish into harmless nitrogen.

The interesting things is that we all filter our world, all the time!  If there is something we are interested in, we can hear someone mention it from across the room; the opposite action this is to remove things that we find troubling, we literally don’t hear / see  them.  This is a very useful function of our brains but can be dangerous.  I have read that the native Americans were unable to see Columbus’ ships when they arrived as they had no concept that such a thing could exist.

Awareness of this process is helpful and gives us some choices about how we handle our communication.  What might you be filtering in or out today?

Designer Labels

Monday, June 16th, 2008

We live in a society obsessed with designer labels. Certainly some of these designers merit their status and make lovely clothes and cars etc. However, as others have just cashed in on their names and sold the right to put them on any old toot, these labels are no guarantee of style. It is interesting that there is now a huge market in known fake designer goods, where people boast about having ‘knock-offs’

There are posh addresses to live in, and ‘in’ places to hang out, and God knows the media is utterly obsessed with celebrities, which really these days just means someone you have heard of.

So how does it feel to be ordinary in this label led world? How do we feel about just driving any old car, wearing clothes from the high street, rather than the cat-walk, and just being Joe (or Josephine) Ordinary?

I enjoy the few really nice things I have, as I am sure you do, but to feel that your value is somehow changed by these things seems daft. I just wonder what the other labels we put on ourselves do for us.. And those that others place round our necks?

“First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.” Epictetus
“Our achievements of today are but the sum total of our thoughts of yesterday. You are today where the thoughts of yesterday have brought you and you will be tomorrow where the thoughts of today take you” Blaise Pascal


As easy as falling off a blog? I don’t think so

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

I quite often read people saying “You should get yourself a blog! It’s easy. It will drive traffic to your site.” I beg to differ. Not so much with the underlying logic as with the presumptions that underpin this advice.

There are now 60 million blogs in the world. How many of these to you read on a regular basis? Not only that but if you go to a site and discover they have little to say and haven’t updated it for a month what does that say about the blogger and their business? Are you really interested in following the minutiae of other people’s lives (Unless of course it is one of those titillating sites about people’s sexcapades, and be honest, just how much of that can you take?!)?

I started up my blog in mid December, having no idea what this really entailed, or what it took to make it successful. You might feel this was a stupid move on my part, and you would be, at least in part, right! However, fools rush in as they say, and if I had known then what I know now, I might have thought twice.

During that time I have posted 113 times, and I reckon that it takes me about an hour per blog. I also spend at least half an hour per day following up posts and responding to them. That is a pretty serious investment of time and effort.

On the upside of the equation, as I have mentioned before, it has enabled me to move into a new space in terms of thinking about things and developed new skills in observation. It has linked me to a number of very nice and interesting people. It lets me become a part of my readers days and offers us both the possibility of introducing Change into their lives; I find that a very exciting idea. It also does help the website; according to StatPress, I have been spidered over 3700 times this month, had 176 visitors and 1153 page views.

So what would I say to someone today who asked me if they should start a blog? I would recommend them to:-

    Only do it if they were prepared to make a serious investment in it

  • Only do it if they are prepared to share something of themselves
  • Not to do it unless they feel they can add some value to their readers
  • Don’t do it just for Google, your human readers will see right though you

So if you decide to take the plunge, “Blog on!” and Good Luck!! I’d be interested to hear what lessons you have learnt and what observations you have made from your favourite bloggers. How do they affect and influence you?

“If an organization isn’t already in place where openness and transparency in communication exists and is practiced, then using tools like blogs will be unlikely to do anything positive for the organization. If your openness/transparency foundation isn’t there, don’t blog.” Neville Hobson

Paranoid… moi?

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Two things happened in the last 24 hours that were nicely juxtaposed to make me ponder. The first was connected to someone whom I had reason to be highly suspicious about, this person had apparently failed to follow through with a promise that they had made. The second came as a ‘virtual’ sideswipe from an online source that I would previously have labelled ‘friendly’.

In the first case I followed up, with a certain amount of trepidation, certainly fantasizing about where this might lead, and fearing the worst. The second case I kind of assumed that I had misconstrued the comment and politely asked for clarification. It appears that the party of the first part (here after designated “the party of the first part”) 1 appears to have been let down by some third party and to have acted in good faith. Whereas the party of the second part here after designated “the party of the second part”) appears to have been having a bilious moment and just taken a ‘pop shot’. Makes you wonder who you can trust?

The more serious component of this is that when these kinds of things happen we have such a limited view of what is going on, and we strive to make sense of the limited data we have, we inevitably jump to conclusions, which is fair enough. It is what we do next that is crucial; do you:-

1. Seek more data in a calm and unemotional way?

    • Go to the source of the problem?
    • Ask others who are connected to them for their insight and knowledge?

    2. Wait calmly to see what happens next?

    • Does it confirm your hypothesis or not?
    • Does nothing happen?

    3. Act on your best guess and either:-

    • ‘run away’2 or
    • ‘attack’

    I would hazard a guess that too many of us go straight to option 3, which can often lead to the very disaster that we have been fearing! So if by any chance you find your self in this situation today, or any time soon, remember, that unless it is literally a matter of ‘life and death’, you are probably better to breathe, and opt for one of the first two options. Good Luck!

    “Facts are not truths; they are not conclusions; they are not even premises, but in the nature and parts of premises” Samuel Taylor Coleridge


    1. This is a nod to the Marx Bros “Night at the Opera” contract scene

    “Blogito ergo sum”

    Friday, March 14th, 2008

    My title is a play on words of Descartes famous phrase “Cogito ergo sum”1 but I wonder if my version is true for many today? Since becoming a regular blogger I have noticed some changes in myself and how I think and how I observe things.

    I will illustrate this with a story. Many years ago (many, many years ago) I was very keen on photography, carried around huge amounts of equipment, went to clubs, entered competitions etc. and got reasonably proficient. Time wore on and I got feed up with lugging all this gear around and wanted to feel ‘free’ again. So I got a little camera, but that still was too heavy… eventually I stopped taking one with me. Then I noticed a curious thing; I was still mentally taking pictures, composing them, noticing colours and juxtapositions etc. My perception of the world had changed; it had been enhanced.

    I’m noticing something a little similar with the blog. Everything I see, hear and feel is potential grist to the Blog Mill. I am now more aware of links between ideas, events and experiences; I ponder them more; I’m doing more original & creative thinking. So for me, I think old René had it about right.

    How does this phenomenon affect you?

    “If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.” Rene Descartes