Near-Death Reputation Failure

August 02, 2009

Near-Death Reputation Failure

The New York Times Sunday Business Section interviewed Cisco’s CEO John Chambers today. Chambers mentioned smart advice he got from former GE CEO Jack Welch on what makes a great company was genuinely true. When Chambers was facing a major business impediment, Welch told the networking CEO that the makings of a great company are “taking major setbacks and overcoming those.”  Chambers thought he had already hit several roadblocks but Welch said that what he meant was not just an obstacle but a “near-death experience.”  This is why leaders often say that the wasting a crisis is tragic. I have my fingers crossed that the near-death experiences we’ve seen over the past 18 months are just a sign of better things to come. As I always say, reputation can’t be left up to the roll of the dice. They need to be managed and often come from ashes.



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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross

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 corporate and CEO reputations.

  • Rhea Drysdale
    Posted at 18:46h, 10 August Reply

    Overcoming obstacles seems to be the secret to success in general. I can’t remember the source, but I read an article months back on effort vs achievement in children. It said that kids who persevere despite their mistakes grow up to be more accomplished adults. Kids who are praised for their achievements (rather than effort) get demoralized if they aren’t great from the start and are more likely to abandon tasks.It’s interesting to see the same play out in business — when faced with adversity, admit mistakes, learn from them and grow stronger. It seems so simple, but when a CEO has to face angry investors and negative public opinion, hiding seems like the best option. It certainly makes our jobs more difficult!

    Great read. 🙂

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