Dec 20, 2019 in Reputation

Your Reputation Crisis Outcomes Are Determined by Your Learning Skills

How fast and how well you learn will determine how much and if you recover from reputation crisis.

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Whether a reputation crisis is well deserved due to our thinking, decisions and behavior or whether it was somewhat out of our control, the long-term outcomes of it are largely determined by how hungry we are to learn and how quickly and well we do learn.

Despite this reality you will find that many organizations and individuals will fight that learning, exhibit themselves as poor learners and thereby, agree to suffer the full consequences and punishments of the crisis.

"The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it," Flannery O'Connor said. 

When we choose resistance and denial because certain emotions control our better judgment, we are not problem solving, we are compounding difficulty, adversity and in the context of this article, crisis. The fire is not being controlled and put out with this mindset. It keeps burning, often spreading throughout our lives.

"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts," legendary basketball coach John Wooden taught. 

It feels good to be confident. Confidence is also critical to be successful. Yet confidence without intellectual humility is weakness.

When we reject the truth that we don't always know it all, when we reject wise advisory and teaching, we are partially blind and are carrying insufficient "insurance" figuratively speaking to protect us from harm in our professional and personal lives. Low intellectual humility is dangerous and you know something, it's very common.

"Failure is success if we learn from it," billionaire entrepreneur Malcolm Forbes said.

That's right, failure is success. Powerful. But it is true if and only if we learn from that shortcoming, mistake, error in judgment or failure.

Doing such often requires putting ego in the back seat and letting our best wisdom or a professional's wisdom drive.

Yet ego always wants to drive. Humility often gets shoved to the passenger seat or back seat or entirely out of the vehicle. This is what is happening when we resist learning, when we resist the advisory that could help guide us to successfully navigate out of conflict, adversity or a reputation crisis. 

Observe the news, or even people around you and will clearly recognize organizations and individuals mired in crisis often continue to harm themselves, incur additional damage because they are blind to their errors, ignorant and poor learners. They are unskilled in how to work through their reputation crisis. I could name names that most everyone has heard of yet you likely already know them.

Opportunity is only valuable if we choose to accept it. Learning is only a gift if we are receptive, if we discipline confidence and ego (overconfidence) and promote humility instead to "leadership."

The higher the skill level we show as a student the greater we increase the likelihood we will protect our reputation and restore or rebuild it in a reputation crisis. We are exhibiting wisdom when we pursue knowledge humbly and constantly.

Michael Toebe is a specialist for reputation and crisis communications, serving organizations and high-profile individuals. He is the publisher of the Reputation Times newsletter on LinkedIn and author of a new book on reputation crisis. He regularly writes advisory articles for online business magazines like Chief Executive, Corporate Board Member, Corporate Compliance Insights, Training Industry and the New York Law Journal.


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