In the words of Stephen Covey, being effective means learning to do ‘that which produces the desired result’. Reputation management requires several traits that make goals more easily achievable. Let’s try to break down what these traits are and how they help reputation managers work smarter.
1. Be proactive
Reactive people constantly think that their actions in the present have no effect on their long-term circumstances. On the other hand, proactive people tend to focus on what can actually be done to solve problems and achieve what they want more quickly. They do not accept the idea that there is nothing which can be done about something they care about.
For an online reputation manager, this means simply starting a campaign with the right mindset. Rather than thinking about obstacles, he/she should concentrate on getting quick wins, accept full responsibility and establish a clear to do list of actions to monitor, defend and restore reputation.
2. Begin with the end in mind
Think long term: no shortcuts, no tricks. A serious reputation manager does not execute actions without a clear plan in his/her mind, i.e. without the end result in mind. Defining the real “destination” might require digging deeper, asking smarter questions to the people involved in the project, understand what is the real goal we are trying to accomplish: reputation repair? Crisis management? Focusing on the final result will make things easier.
3. Apply the Pareto principle
Do not be (only) efficient! Be effective. The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, states that approximately 80% of the results come from 20% of the causes. This means that among all the actions we take to reach a certain goal, there is a limited percentage that actually helps us a lot more compared to the others. Analyse what you are doing. Make a list of a few items and really put the time to rate them by effectiveness. What’s your 20%? Do more of that.
As a reputation professional, you live and work in a conversation-rich world that you need to understand. Your assumptions about it will only get you so far; listening to what people are saying is a skill that needs to be sharpened. Understanding the conversation is the first step to take part in it, lead it, and achieve your goals.
5. Be flexible
Let’s face it: nobody is able to predict the future. This means that we are not able to predict successes and failures. A good habit to develop consists in being flexible and keeping an open approach to what works and what doesn’t. Even the best laid out plans often do not turn out to be as effective as we used to think at the beginning. Be ready to start from scratch again, learn new ways to accomplish your goals, reorganize priorities. Flexibility is a condicio sine qua non for success.
You don’t need to do it alone. Whatever the size of the goal is, you can get more done with the help of other professionals. Do not be afraid to involve every member of the team in other parts of the job. Synergizing means that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Who will you help? Who will help you? Whenever you can, make it a priority to find meaningful ways to collaborate with your peers.
7. Sharpen the saw
Effective reputation managers always take the time to sharpen the saw, i.e. improving themselves. Taking time out of actual “work” will make sure future work will produce better, quicker and bigger results. In a fast-paced digital world, what works today won’t tomorrow. Are you engaged in a lifelong learning process? Are you going to be ready for the challenges of the market 5, 10 or 20 years from now? Sharpening your skills will probably be the most effective habit to develop.
How should reputation managers think, act and communicate? Is there any other habit you would recommend?