Self-Inflicted Reputation Loss

December 07, 2011

Self-Inflicted Reputation Loss

There has been a fair amount of news this year about people who risk everything and ultimately lose their whole reputation.  Why would anyone take that risk?  An article on “What makes a rogue trader?” made me think about people who take risks without realizing that they have so much to lose.  Also the news today about Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich being sentenced to 14 years in jail for corruption made me wonder what drove him to this pitiful situation. Money? Power? Just because he could do it. Interestingly, the article posits one theory….”What matters most of all is not how much a gamble alters their wealth, but where they start –whether they are already satisfied, or have suffered loss. Their overriding trait is their inability to accept loss.” Thus, these people are compelled to do whatever they have to in the name of gaining more wealth or achieving political office to avoid loss of their stature or status or sense that they are okay human beings. The loss seems to always outweigh what they sought in the first place. And these risk-takers lose all remnants of reputation and respect in the end. Something that you can’t even put a price on. Makes you think about Bernie Madoff. What was he thinking? His reputation is in shreds, at best.

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross
lesliegainesross@gmail.com

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of reputations.

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