On Communications: Reputation on the line

Achieving a good reputation is a process of accumulation, stability and endurance, and the CEO is responsible.

by Tom Kowaleski, World Business

A great debate in reputation management circles has always been about what constitute its most critical elements. Is it built solely on the numbers, products and services, or the right elements in the image-building mix, such as strategic vision, quality, responsibility and culture, or managerial experience and talent? What about management? Does the reputation responsibility extend to the entire management team, the most charismatic member or only the leader?

If it is the last, is this one responsibility too many for a CEO to carry, in addition to setting the course and strategy, maintaining critical constituent relationships, inspiring team performance and watching for the inevitable surprises along the road to success? Or, is one of the most important CEO roles that of 'chief reputation officer'?

This is an interesting debate because there is no single right answer.

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