In order to establish a reputation, it really helps to understand what it will take to do this in the place or arena in which you want to land a big impression. The easiest way to gain this insight, and it will differ widely between organisations, is to study those who have already done it.
Before you do this, you’ll need to answer another rather important question — who do you want to establish a reputation with? The things which will work and the things which will not work can only be understood if you know who your target is. For instance, do you want to establish your reputation with the executive? This may be sufficient for your promotion, although it might not make you especially popular with the masses. You need to be careful when aiming to establish a reputation with the whole organisation. It may make you popular and well known, but will it achieve your objectives?
Therefore, before you go too far in designing a strategy for building your reputation, sit down and clarify exactly what you are aiming to achieve. Once you have gained some clarity on that, establishing the target of your influence, or rather your reputation building, will become easy.
What exactly is their reputation?Assuming you now have a purpose and target in mind, the next question becomes, who has already built a strong reputation within that group? Who are the role models?* They don’t need to have the sort of reputation you want to have, but they do need to have a strong reputation for something. Once you have identified a couple of people with a strong reputation in your target group, challenge yourself with these three questions:
- What makes you think it is well established within your target group?
- How did they arrive at this point?
There is likely to be a lot of other questions you need to ask, and you are probably going to need to talk to others too as part of your investigation. The key point here is that if you can figure out how others have already done what you want to do there will be lots of ideas flowing about the actions you need to take.
Two more points to consider:
- Who has established a bad reputation? Why? How?
- Can you think of people who have failed to establish their reputation with your target group? What happened?
* Whenever I talk about role models I am not referring to someone who is the complete article, merely someone you can learn from.