The Bible is a terrific business manual. There are principals in it that have instructed business owners for thousands of years and guide me daily. In the book of I Peter there is a verse that says: “See to it that your conscience is entirely clear, so that every time you are slandered or falsely accused, those who attack or disparage your reputation will be shamed [by their own words].” (1Peter 3:16) What this verse says is that your behavior every day contains the building blocks of your reputation. Who you are when no one is looking (your conscience) is who you are. This private reality will ultimately be public – for better or for worse.
If your reputation can be seen as building – every word you say, every phone call/email/text you make, send, and respond to is a brick. Every interaction with client, colleague, or potential business contact is a brick. The way you live, the way you treat people, your relationships, who you choose as your friends is the mortar that secures the bricks.
Here are three things a reputation of integrity does for you:
Your reputation proceeds you. Realtors® work in a world in which we rarely meet each other. We talk on the phone, we text, we email sometimes for decades without meeting each other. This business relationship means that your reputation is often formed in the minds of your colleagues without ever meeting them. Who you are in person will confirm or negate what they have heard. Studies indicate that by the time you are in a face-to-face meeting with someone as much as 80% of their opinion of you has already been formed based on what others have told them. What have they heard? The day-to-day mundane interactions in your business create a picture of what can be expected of you.
Your reputation quiets critics. Like the verse in 1 Peter says: the most effective way to quiet critics is to live a life that defies their words. None of us are perfect. We make mistakes. We say things that we regret. We learn better ways of treating our colleagues and clients as we mature in our professions. But the whole of your behavior should stand as a testament to your good character. When criticism is voiced, the mind of the listener should think “that’s not the (your name) I know or have heard about.” At very least, it puts the benefit of the doubt on your side until the facts are known.
Your reputation invites forgiveness when mistakes are made. Your life should invite grace from others when we make mistakes (as we inevitably will.) A good reputation is not a life of perfection. It is a life of purposeful and intentional decisions which reflect the principals by which you desire to live, work, and build a business. There will be times when you miss that mark. When that “missing” is the exception in an otherwise good reputation the party you have harmed is much more likely to recognize it as such and forgive. It is the reason that mistakes made should be ‘owned’ and responded to with honesty rather than covered up, dismissed, or responsibility deflected.
House Call is a blog written by Kathy Chiero, Licensed Realtor and Team Leader of The Kathy Chiero Group of Keller Williams Greater Columbus. Find Kathy and her team at www.OurOhioHome.com