Why Reputation Matters More Than Longevity

When I left my last job to form Paragon, technically I had been working for the same company – Thomson Corporation – for 25 years. It’s nothing to shout from the rooftops; in fact, longevity is considered by some to be a lack of ambition. I’m not totally in agreement with that sentiment but I don’t totally dismiss it either. There’s no gold watch on my wrist and nor should there be. Merely existing is no cause for celebration.

What does matter today – and always has – is reputation. Here are three reasons why:

People do business with the people they know and trust.

It’s not a surprise, especially at the senior levels of organizations. Much like the case of the President of the United States selecting his inner circle, loyalty is the most highly-prized asset. It’s more important even than intelligence or attitude. If you have a good reputation, you won’t be short of work.

You never know when people are talking about you or your brand.

Communication is so fragmented today that conversations about you could be taking place anywhere around the world at any time and you wouldn’t know. Controlling your image is harder than ever and it’s not just a matter of producing a quality script for a brochure or advertisement. It’s about walking the walk. If you and your company deliver on your promise, you are well on your way to building a stellar reputation.

You’re only as good as your current contacts.

Communication is everything today but if your contact list reads like it was compiled in the 1980s – and if it’s still on a Rolodex it probably was – throw it out. Relationships matter – but only if they are active and vibrant. Otherwise, save them for the cocktail lounge.

When I came up with the concept of Paragon – an integrated financial communications firm that actually knows what it is talking or writing about – one of the first things I did was read through all of my 1,000+ LinkedIn contacts. Half of them are useless, but that still left me a lot of friends and business colleagues. That’s what gives you the confidence to start a successful business – not a gold watch.

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