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If it’s broken, you should fix it

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Nkem Onwudiwe


Have you ever given a thought to what people say or think about you before they meet you? I have. Especially when I meet someone and they say, “Hi, I’ve heard a lot of things about you.” These “things” that people hear about you before even meeting you, matters. Some people like to talk about how they do not care about anyone’s perception of their reputation. Let’s be honest, you care!

A reputation is an extremely fragile thing and should be protected at all costs because hard as it is to build, it takes twice as much to rebuild if broken and even after all said and done, it can never be the same. A good reputation is a great asset to have as an individual or a brand and whenever this essential topic comes up, something comes to mind- The Humpty Dumpty story.

Humpty Dumpty – An English nursery rhyme character – sat on a wall before Humpty Dumpty fell and shattered. When this happened, the entire king’s horses and all the king’s men tried to put Humpty Dumpty back together again, but they couldn’t because the damage was irreparable. Humpty Dumpty as referred to by a publication I came across some time ago, is a common literally allusion, particularly to refer to something that, once broken, will be difficult to reconstruct.

Perhaps you have been in a situation that has put your name and image in a bad light, all hope is not lost. Not yet. You can rebuild your reputation by working on yourself/brand, starting from within and then following these recommendations.

Always be honest- Like a glasshouse, you are transparent and people are constantly looking in, withholding the temptation to throw stones so it will be almost impossible to tell a lie and get away with it. A famous proverb goes: A half-truth is a whole lie. So save yourself and your image the hassle and always be honest.

Know when to react and what to ignore -Not every situation deserves your response or reaction except it threatens to put your image in a bad light. Keeping mum about it hoping it will go away after some time is only going to fuel the fire. However, in some cases, it is okay to let the situation play out on its own but, if a situation is rooted in gossip and false rumours, stop it from festering by addressing and correcting it immediately.
Don’t hesitate to apologise – We all make mistakes, no one is pure. When your actions or words rub off the wrong way on people – your customers, fans, followers – do not hesitate to tender a genuine apology and show remorse for what you said or did.  This action of humility is a right step to reputation safekeeping and your fans will appreciate such gesture. There is also a huge probability that you would win more hearts so what do you have to lose?

Watch the company you keep – The company you keep can elevate or further mar your reputation. What’s the reputation of the people you are hanging out with like? Evaluate your friends and hang out more with those whose reputation will elevate yours and not those with a reputation that could stain yours. You know what they say about birds of the same feathers and flocking together. Joseph Hall wrote that a reputation once broken may possibly be repaired, but the world will always keep their eyes on the spot where the crack was.It takes a long time to build a credible reputation and even longer to rebuild a tainted one. No one is perfect, but one can try. 


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Nkem Onwudiwe
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