How Important is a Good Reputation?

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Sometimes, reputation is all you’ve got. Or it is the most valuable thing you’ve got. When you are in a role where your credibility is on the line every, single day, reputation is critical. The situation with Brian Williams is a tragedy because the public trusted what he reported and depended on his information to be true. The public has decided that he violated that trust. It’s like a whole lot of other things. It is difficult to acquire and keep trust in any relationship. Once you lose it, it’s hard to get it back.

In the future, I would still wonder about his reports and if they are truthful or if they contain twists. All it takes is one falsehood to make someone unreliable.

The CEO of NBC Universal, Steve Burke, spent some time with Williams after the decision of his suspension. NPR (2015) has quoted Burke as saying Williams, “has shared his deep remorse with me, and he is committed to winning back everyone’s trust” ( He added, “He deserves a second chance, and we are rooting for him.” A second chance? It is not likely that he will ever be hired as an anchor again. He should realize this and not even attempt to make a comeback.

Of course we all make mistakes. We all screw up at work sometimes. Not usually to the extent that Williams did, but we do. The question that should truly be contemplated when we make a mess at work is this: How do you handle these setbacks and mistakes? The answer is straightforward: You deal with them head on. Accept that, “Yep, I made a mistake!” Accept the consequences; the demotion or the reassignment humbly. Methodically, carefully and slowly bring yourself back from the brink. Remind yourself that this is just a minor setback for a major comeback. Then set out your recovery plan. It may mean changing companies. It may mean you have to work extra hard to get back where you were before your faux pas.

Sometimes there is no way to get back to where you once were. Realize that some companies have a non-forgiving culture. In companies that adopt this unspoken practice, you may not be fired. However, it is highly unlikely that you will move any further up the ladder. Know which company you work for and make plans accordingly. Clawing and scraping and doing everything you can to come back up is always admirable and usually serves its purpose. However, in some situations, you may ultimately have to change companies. If you do, be mindful of the mistakes you have made. Be careful not to repeat your past. Remember, you can do anything you put your mind to and work hard at. Anything is possible if you want it bad enough and are willing to devote the time and effort needed to make it happen!

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