Having a reputation is unavoidable and, in most cases, it is actually a good thing. This is true from an individual perspective, but also from a business perspective. And, in fact, the two are inextricably linked. If an individual has a reputation that supersedes them, they will find it easier to find employment or to push their place of work forward. The reality is that it takes years and years of dedicated, consistent, hard work in order to build a positive reputation. Worryingly, however, it takes just a single action to completely destroy it.
The Example of the Lion Killer
Take Dr. Palmer, who was once known as one of the best dentists in Minnesota. He is now known for one thing and one thing only: being the guy who killed Cecil, Zimbabwe’s oldest and most famous lion. Whether or not he killed the lion by mistake, believing it to be any other lion, or whether he knew exactly what he was doing is currently a hot topic. In fact, there are calls to have him extradited to Zimbabwe to answer for his actions. Even law enforcement in this country has gotten involved in this matter. But what does all of this have to do with reputation?
Dr. Palmer thought he was on a regular hunting vacation. While there are people who are vehemently against hunting, this is in itself not the biggest problem. The problem is which lion he killed and the fact that this immediately went viral online. Within a day of killing Cecil, Dr. Palmer’s world came crashing down.
Today, Dr. Palmer has had to go into hiding. He his hounded both online and offline by people who want to express their anger at him. Some of these statements go so far as including threats of death. His practice, which used to be one of the most popular in Minnesota, has had to close as all his patients have left. His website has been hacked and closed down. Social media users from all over the world are hashtagging him with various hateful messages.
A Reputation Management Expert’s Take
Dr. Palmer’s example is a clear example of how much reputation affects every part of somebody’s life. So Dr. Palmer killed a famous lion. This has, in reality, nothing to do with his ability to be a great dentist. He has never made a secret of being a hunter, and many people who have now turned against him are hunters themselves. But that one action, the killing of that one specific lion, means he is no longer respected in any aspect of his life.
According to online reputation repair experts, this is a clear example of why maintaining a positive reputation is so important and how easy it is for a reputation to be completely destroyed by the actions of people on social media, which is now around one seventh of the world. A single action, and it literally takes just a fraction of a second to pull the trigger and kill a lion, can destroy a lifetime of hard work and dedication to a completely different field. It is highly unlikely that Dr. Palmer will ever be able to recover from this, unless he changes his name.