“Mirror mirror on the wall. Who’s the fairest business of them all?”
In this week’s Harvard Business Review IdeaCast podcast, Adam Bryant of ExCo Group outlines “What the best leaders know–and what skills to develop.” During this compelling podcast about leadership, Bryant mentions that leaders and companies should regularly “look in the ugly mirror.”
This “ugly mirror” is a metaphor for leaders to be brutally honest about the challenges they face about their products, processes, people and their competition. Bryant goes on to say that this mirror will showcase why the company isn’t good enough and how it might be better. “It’s ok to be a cheerleader,” Bryant says. “But you must be brutally honest about the existing challenges.”
When it comes to your company’s brand (i.e., what you say about your company) and reputation (i.e., what others say about your company), it’s a valuable and telling exercise to look at your brand through the mirror of your reputation. Is your brand beautifully aligned with your reputation? Or are there noticeable cracks in the mirror?
So what is an “ugly mirror” and what mechanism can a leader use to identify these challenges? At ReputationUs, we encourage business leaders to conduct a reputation assessment from a third party organization to “look in the mirror” and examine where there are flaws in a company’s overall reputation. Specifically, listen to what others say about your brand, including your products/services, processes, and people. The findings can be enlightening and inform major business decisions moving forward.
At RepUs, our reputation assessment uses an array of tools to uncover valuable pros and cons about a company’s overall reputation, including:
- Conducting focus groups
- Meeting key stakeholders, influencers, customers, community leaders, media
- Surveying target customers and staff
- Analyzing past media coverage
- Examining social media channels
- Researching select competition
So go ahead, leaders. Look confidently in the mirror and appreciate that you’re doing so to advance your company forward.