Reputation And The New Normal

Guest post by
Per Frykman

What Consultants, Entrepreneurs, and Leaders should consider when everything is continuously changing.

Change is as natural as breathing, and with everything that is happening today, it is time to future-proof our careers and businesses. The pandemic has intensified many existing trends, and it will unlock new unique windows of possibilities.

We need to find a balance between what has worked up until now, and what needs to happen to succeed in the new normal.

The critical factor that will become more important than ever is our reputation and how it builds trust. It will decide the success of every future collaboration and business deal. It is time to take it from something merely interesting to something indispensable.

We are entering a new normal, and we will more often move into new professional arenas. Your reputation will be the most critical asset that you will bring from one project to the next, highlighting what you can accomplish and how you do things. It is the complete approach to your expertise, unique qualities (result skills), bugs, and performance.

The new normal is digital. Working from home has become kind of a mantra in the future of work discussions, but I think that we are missing something fundamental here. Instead, it is about having the choice of working from anywhere; it is the freedom to work from places where we are most productive, combining efficiency with quality of life. It might be working from home, from an office, in nature, outdoors, or a hotel lobby. It is a flexibility that we should provide to our current and future employees, to get the attention of the best talents wherever they are located.

Today, many consultants, entrepreneurs, and leaders are looking for ways to show their real value to attract new clients. Video meetings and webinars are becoming standard tools in our ways of collaborating. Whatever tools we decide to use, our reputation will be the differentiator, and it might be wise to build your strategies around it.


We Are Far More Talented Than We Give Ourselves Credit For

Your reputation is the one thing that everything else in your professional life revolves around. It is never about self-promotion since your reputation is only as good as what your stakeholders say. Calling yourself a thought leader, guru, or even expert will no longer do the trick, but having the reputation of being one is an entirely different matter. That is the beauty of reputation and the reason why I consider mine to be far more critical than my track-record.

After exploring the reputation of more than a thousand consultants, entrepreneurs, and leaders, it is my experience that we are far more talented than we give ourselves credit for or promote. We miss out on a lot of the truly critical stuff. A Reputation Resumé will be our best friend heading for excellence or increased potential to be hired for a new project. It expands our self-awareness and makes us see our capacity and performance in a whole new light. I dare say that it is the most crucial document in your professional life since the people who are doing great work have their preceding reputation as their most valuable asset.

An excellent reputation is something you earn by doing outstanding work, treating people well, and staying genuine; it is both a mindset and a lifelong commitment. You cannot have an attractive reputation without putting in the effort. The self-awareness that comes from knowing the content of your reputation will be THE success factor in navigating the new normal.

Let’s Upgrade Our Soft Skills To Result Skills

Soft skills are not soft. They are the true hard skills that generate results. Not paying full attention to these skills is a huge mistake since they are a vital part of building our reputation and aiming for excellence. In the global LinkedIn report ‘Talent Trends 2019’, they are at the top of the list transforming our workplaces. And they will be even more critical in the new normal. So – let’s upgrade them and label them ‘result skills’ from now on.

As the half-life of many hard skills is continuously shrinking, the result skills are becoming more relevant than ever. A vast majority of companies struggle to assess them, and despite the importance, the ways to get a grip on them have not changed much over the past few decades. Reid Hoffman, one of the founders of LinkedIn, wrote about how hard it is to measure them. The Reputation Resumé has an exciting position to fill in since the people around you see your result skills best.

There is more information available out there than anyone can adequately take in, and this trend is growing exponentially, which means that many experts might be stuck with yesterday’s answers. Without the tremendous dedication and natural curiosity, the foremost expert can stagnate with old knowledge faster than ever before. With the vast amount of information available online at our fingertips, the tricky question becomes whether you can call yourself an expert today. This issue calls for new, creative ways to build, expand, and promote yourself as an expert. I might be biased, but I think your reputation resumé will do the job.

Research from Stanford University and Harvard Business School clearly shows that your potential for the future gets you hired for a job or a project. It is what people expect from you that is critical, and we should shift focus in our marketing activities from history to the future. Your reputation will automatically set those expectations, and we are never better than our next project.


Closing The Reputation Gap

A growth mindset has become a popular topic today. One interesting approach is closing the reputation gap between how you see and promote your talents and how your professional stakeholders perceive your abilities and performance. This approach is an excellent way to confirm your current baseline and figure out your starting point. You will raise the bar of your professional approach, thus gaining access to your result skills.

We live and work in a turbulent and extremely competitive market today due to the pandemic, and many are seeking new ways to attract clients, assignments, or investors. We could have brilliant business ideas or career strategies, but everything lands in our reputation. There is huge power in it – it only needs to be explored and expanded since it will be the new dividing line. People will buy from you, work with you, invest in you, and hire you based on your reputation and the expectations that accompany it.

One crucial strategic shift that you can make when building your reputation is to replace the word weaknesses with bugs. Apps on our smartphones are being released in beta versions, with bugs that are continuously being updated by the developers aiming for excellence over time. In the same way, you could release the beta version of you, realizing that you have bugs, that they are natural and necessary, and then keep continuously updating yourself. It is the action to take before perfection.

Clients Will Pick The Individual, Not The Company

Reputation has a significant impact on not only the individual’s economy but also the company’s. The intersection between corporate and individual reputation is becoming a hotspot. According to the GC Excellence Report, the individual lawyer’s reputation ranks first in selecting a law firm by a ten to one margin over the importance of a law firm’s brand. We pick lawyers, not law firms. I would say that it is the same in every branch, in almost every mid-sized company. Buyers place a high premium on reputation and expertise.

We will also be entering a time when successful companies will no longer be filled with people sending in their traditional resumés. Instead, they will be filled with individuals with excellent reputations built on how they do things. Professional growth will focus on building your reputation around top performance creating expectations, and earning trust. There are some exciting times ahead, and foresighted companies like QGroup will have a massive advantage in the competition for the best talents and clients.

Can You Think Of Anything More Important?

Our minds take us in different directions. We often see risks more clearly than opportunities, and we can introduce previous results easier than what can be expected of us in the future even though it is the reason we are being hired. We talk about soft skills, but to be honest; they are not soft; they are our unique qualities that generate results and cannot be replaced by Artificial Intelligence. Whatever roads you choose to travel, your reputation will be affected.

To finish up, let’s consider four crucial aspects of your reputation.

  • What you say about yourself is not nearly as important as what others say about you.
  • Your reputation has the same impact on your life as what you actually do.
  • Your reputation sets the expectations of what you can accomplish – the reason they will hire you.
  • Your reputation is the one thing that everything else in your professional life revolves around.

Can you think of anything more important?