"You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do." – Confucius


What list of inspirational quotes and sayings would be complete without something from the ultimate sage, Confucius - the inspiration for this week's Monday Mojo post.


“You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.” – Confucius

I'm sure you're thinking that this is pretty obvious and hardly deserving of a post. Maybe, maybe not my young grasshopper.

In my role as a board advisor, investor, management consultant and recruiter, I get a lot of requests to "buy-in" to potential when there are no results to back up predicted returns and benefits.

Sometimes, perfectly ok. Other times, absolutely not ok.

When it is ok? When the person pitching has a reputation earned through tangible achievements, to back up their proposition.

Many angel investors and private equity firms will say that whilst a unique idea for a business is brilliant, they generally invest in the founder over the business idea. And, they choose founders with a track record of achievements over first time entrepreneurs.

When it comes to winning that dream job and getting your cv to the top of the list, what do you think is most important: achievements or job title/responsibilities?

Yep - achievements.

As a senior executive search consultant told be many, many years ago "I don't give a f**k what you're responsible for honey, what have you done?" This was after she had scrolled through my 10 page-long carefully crafted résumé detailing the impressive titles and responsibilities I had owned throughout my career.

Hurt as I was that my impressive titles and weighty responsibilities were so quickly disregarded, I could see that I had really undersold my achievements. So, I recut my résumé; bullet pointed my achievements being sure to state my role and the metrics; and summarised my responsibilities. Anything more than five years earlier was dramatically edited. Then I went back in to state my claim for the job as General Manager.

I got the job.

Lesson for me: focus more on achievements and less on responsibilities.

When I am recruiting, I look for achievements and results that can back up a claim to the role. Responsibilities are still important, but just not as important as achievements. Obviously, I'm looking for lots of other things around values, skills, knowledge, experience, etc, but a list of impressive achievements will make you stand out.

Now here's the tricky thing... sometimes you haven't had the opportunity to build an impressive track record of achievements to showcase your value and abilities. Don't despair, there are ways.

Still pitch your potential, but be sure to explain why that potential exists and how can can realise it - while you build up your skills and profile.

If you don't think your reputation has developed fully and your list of achievements is not yet impressive enough to push you up the list, make the time to commit yourself to developments (professional, academic and personal) that will increase your skills, lift your profile and enhance your reputation.

  • Join that committee.

  • Sign up for that executive education course.

  • Speak at that industry conference.

  • Write that article /white paper.

  • Volunteer for projects that will give you profile.

  • Get involved with that charity.

  • Register that website and turn that new business idea into a proof of concept.

  • Network your butt off.

Remember reputations (good and bad) are earned through actions and achievements. You can wait for opportunities to arise that will help you develop your reputation - or you can create your own. The choice is yours.

Have a great week!


Image Attribution:

Photo of Clocks by Massimo Missaglia from Pixabay

Photo Confucius statue by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

Photo of Diary by Bich Tran from Pexels