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Reputation

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Have you noticed the voyeurism on television lately? On one show, they put you in a glass box and have people guess your age. “Why have you let yourself go?” the host sympathetically pries. Another show rewards contestants for answering questions no one should be asking, like: “Would you cheat on your wife if you knew you wouldn’t get caught?” America watches, eyes glued to the anxious wife or the aging contestant in a perverse beauty contest in reverse.

These competitors proudly march to the platform and place themselves under the microscope of the camera lens – all for the promise of a payoff. Their brutal honesty and embarrassing candor is matched only by the audience’s relentless desire for all the gory details. Wealth and beauty are powerful motivators, and the limelight beckons.

Now imagine that Ms. Jones is in the hot seat. The spotlights are on her, the studio audience is rapt upon her every word. The house lights dim. The “ON AIR” sign glows. The announcer clears his throat and asks, “What happened when you shopped at XYZ Company again?”

What will Ms. Jones say about you? Does melodrama play a lead role in today’s business world? Are you at the mercy of a bad mouthing word-of-mouth message? Or should you be the one asking all the questions?

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