We can all remember famous people, or just someone significant to us, who have done something to forever ruin their good name. I will not list the names of politicians, sports heroes, and religious leaders that have disappointed us all with their fall. You can come up with your own list in your head. Unfortunately, it seems that a good name is tough to get these days, and even tougher to maintain.
1. Don’t do it for the name.
While this may seem contrary to what you might think, I really believe this is true. If you set out with the sole purpose of developing a good name for yourself, you might succeed. But it is more likely that this strategy will backfire on you.
The best way to gain a good name is just to begin doing the right thing. Do it because it is the right thing, not because someone is watching. Every time you have the opportunity, you just do what God leads you to do. It is that simple. The hard part is that this takes time. It will not happen overnight, but it will happen over time.
2. Always be aware of others watching.
While this one may seem to contradict #1, it really does not. This is not about doing the right thing just because someone is watching. This idea is more about a constant awareness that you are on stage.
When you associate your good name with the name of Jesus, people will begin to watch you. Some are hoping you fail while others are secretly pulling for you. Either way, you need to know that their eyes are on you even when you are not aware of it. Don’t slip up when you think you are alone. You likely aren’t.
3. Make your decisions ahead of time.
My father always taught me to make my decisions ahead of time. Before I found myself in a tempting situation, I had already made up my mind as what I would do. Then, when the temptation popped up, I was prepared to act – no thinking necessary. Good name intact!
If you will make this a practice in your personal life, as well as in your business, you will see the benefits. No opportunity to “play with the numbers” or omit truthful disclosure in a transaction will trip you up if you have already decided how you will respond.
4. Remember the “Why?”
It is almost certain that there will be times where you are tempted to give in. The devil is good at his job and you cannot anticipate every possibility ahead of time. It is these types of situations that trip up the best.
When you stop to think about what you are going to do, just remember the reason you are committed to a good name. Remember that you have taken on the association with Jesus and giving in would bring a mark against Him as well. Then run!
5. Under-promise and over-deliver.
It is often tempting in customer situations to promise the world. Whether you are trying to sell something or just estimating when the repairs will be complete, over-promising is a common mistake. It is damaging to a good name.
Instead, make it your practice to under-promise. Give yourself some cushion in the timing. Back off a touch on the promised performance of your product. Then, when you come in ahead of schedule or your product exceeds the customer expectations, you both win! This is a well-known, but seldom used business principle.
6. Err on the side of doing the right thing.
There are many times when the “right thing” to do is not black and white. In other words, it is not exactly clear how far you should go in making something right. Maybe you are reimbursing a customer for lost time and frustration. What is the real cost of that?
Here, I am recommending that you go a little further than you might think is acceptable. Get other opinions if you must, but add that one notch at the end. Go a little overboard rather than risk falling short. You won’t be sorry in the long run.
7. Enlist accountability.
We all have blind spots. There are simply areas in which we cannot see as well as others. When we enlist accountability, we can cover these blind spots. Then we are less likely to miss something that could be damaging to our good name.
In my business, it is my inner circle of leadership that helps me avoid trouble. For you, it may be your spouse, chaplain, or someone else. Regardless of who it is, you cannot do this alone. There are too many pitfalls out there that will destroy a good name. It is not worth the risk of going it alone!
Questions to ponder:
What would you add to this list?
Have you struggled in any of these areas?
In which of these areas have you seen victory?
By: Chris Patton
Chris Patton is President of the Mike Patton Auto Family in LaGrange, Georgia. Along with his brother (and partner) Brian, Chris is a third-generation owner and grew up working in every department in the business, beginning at the age of 10. Chris also writes a blog called Christian Faith At Work (ChristianFaithAtWork.com). He is writing it to business owners and leaders who are trying to figure out how to integrate their Christian faith into their businesses. Chris and his wife Kim live in LaGrange, GA with their three children.Read More Articles by Chris Patton