What’s the First Thing People Say After Speaking Your Name

Reputation is the thing you’re known for, especially when it’s bad. Toads have a reputation for giving warts. But you get warts from people, not toads.

A bad reputation clings like muck even when it’s not true.

A bad reputation protects people from you.

Hot chilly pepper

Reputation is what people expect you to do.


Reputation is a crystal ball. People use it to predict your behaviors. They might say, “He’ll blow up if you tell him that.” Or, “You better wait until she’s in a better mood.” 

Reputation describes what people expect you to do.

My predictions. Martin Luther King Jr. would promote civil rights if he showed up in my office. Marie Curie would explain radiation.

People that know me expect me to ask questions and give unvarnished feedback.


You can’t talk your way into a good reputation.

“We’d all like a reputation for generosity, and we’d all like to buy it cheap.” Mignon McLaughlin

The behaviors you repeat set the expectations of reputation.

After speaking your name, what is the first thing you want people to say about you? Align your leadership around those words. Socrates said, “The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.”

  1. What behaviors best express the way you desire to be known?
  2. How well do your recent interactions align with the words you hope others will say about you?
  3. What three behaviors fully align with the way you want to be known?


“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” Henry Ford

What do people expect you to do when you show up? Criticize? Challenge? Encourage? Try new things?

What expressions do you normally see when you show up?

How is a good reputation built?

What destroys a good reputation?