As part of my continuing frenemy fraternization with corporate reputation guru Leslie Gaines-Ross, I'd like to praise her latest blog post for IDing the new PR buzzword "reset," but question the intellectual integrity behind her main point:
you press the reset button, your reputation will be ground zero.
Resetting your reputation is the right thing to do. If you don’t like
the word reset, you can always substitute reboot.
OK, Doc: How, pray tell, does one "reset one's reputation"?
The only way I can think of to suddenly change a reputation is contained in the lament of the Greek villager:
You see all the boats in de harbor? I build all de boats. But do they call me Dmitri the boat-builder? No.
You see all the roads in de town? I build all de roads. But do they call me Dmitri the road-builder? No.
You see all the houses on de hill? I build all de houses. But do they call me Dmitri the house-builder? No.
But you fuck one goat …..
You can reset – in the sense of starting a new direction – but you can’t erase the past. Particularly in today’s online world where so much of our reputations exists in perpetuity and maintained by others. The computer analogy cited in Gaines-Ross’ post is appropriate, but not in the sense it is intended. You can delete all your incriminating files and restart the system as many times as you like. But the data never really completely disappears from the hard drive. We like to think otherwise, but it’s still there for someone who knows where to look for the picture of that goat.
David Murray says
Or for someone who simply talks to one of Dmitri’s embarrassed customers or investors.
Plus, attempting to “reboot,” “reset” or whatever you choose to call it, takes about 100 times more effort, time and focus than keeping your reputation in a good place in the first place.
David Murray says
Well, and then there’s the other problem: A reputation is organic, unknowable and existing IN THE MINDS OF INFINITE OTHERS.
How are you going to “reset” a thing like that? It would be easier to reset yesterday’s weather.