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What you know, who you know and who trusts you matters.

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Emotional appeal--trust, admiration, respect and general good feelings--is the driving factor in how people rate companies. A survey conducted by Harris Interactive Inc., an Internet-based market-research firm, and the Reputation Institute, a research group, showed that while advertising can be effective in getting a message across, it doesn't necessarily change opinions.

So, how is an organization's reputation built?

Hill & Knowlton Inc.'s third annual Corporate Reputation Watch Survey confirms the growing importance of the chief executive's reputation. About 54% of chief executives surveyed believe that at least half of a company's corporate reputation could be attributed to the public image of its chief executive.

The senior executives polled identified customers (96%), employees (88%) and their own reputations (84%) as the three factors most influential in helping to build a company's image. As a result, 64% concluded that the ability to maintain and enhance a company's profile should be given substantial weight when choosing a successor.

Effective corporate leaders are strategic in the way they share knowledge.

They use their knowledge to earn trust and build their reputation within the company.


Effective corporate leaders know that unshared knowledge loses value. Yet, how knowledge is shared is crucial in determining whether it serves to enhance the reputation of the person sharing it or not. The formula for both personal and corporate success is:


Success = Human Capital (what you know and can do) X Social Capital (who you know and who knows you) X Reputation (who trusts you).


The manner in which the professional connects with others matters. Increasing one's social capital is all knowing how to share knowledge so it not only adds value to the organization but also to your recognized worth within it.

While all industries are knowledge-based today, personal knowledge and social capital capabilities are critical to professional service firms (such as consulting, investment banking and law) and research-driven firms that depend upon the capabilities of knowledge workers, both individually and working together.

The professional knowledge worker needs to look at him or herself as the hub of his personal and business networks. How he or she connects to a community of networks will determine if s/he obtains the resources when s/he needs them. By making the 'invisible structure' of personal and business relationships visible, s/he will work more effectively through increasing one's personal bandwidth.



Professionals need to make skills of influence and collaboration part of their everyday tool kit.


Since personal development leads business development, understanding and practicing social capital building methods should be an important element in your business development strategy.

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Ready to learn more about building your individual and corporate social capital?

Pick up a copy of Dr. Wayne Baker's bestseller, "Achieving Success Through Social Capital" (Jossey-Bass). Check out CEO Coaching to understand why executive coaching makes sense.

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