Reputation – Your Currency In The New World

Reputation – Your Currency In The New World

In the new world your reputation is your most powerful currency. Whether your a small to medium size photography business or a software company that enables growth trust and reputation will drive demand. Our good friend Joel Stehr from explains this better than most ;

Rachel Botsman is regarded as a global thought leader on the topic of collaboration and sharing through digital technologies. It is she who first stated that:

Reputation is fast becoming a currency that will be more powerful than our credit history in the 21st century

It’s a pretty bold statement. Personally I tend to think she’s right. But let’s step back for a minute and look at the big picture.

The world is changing and changing fast. There is a popular infographic floating around at the moment which summarises how powerhouses like Uber and Airbnb have risen to the top of their respective industries without actually investing in any physical infrastructure such as a taxi fleet or hotels. They have done so by tapping into the sharing economy and opening up the doors for people that have a car or a house to act as drivers or hosts.

A recent report looking at the sharing economy found that between 40 – 50% of respondents (there was some differentiation by region) have used sharing services such as eBay, Uber or Airbnb to name just a few. Participation is forecasted to soar in 2015. There are a stack of reasons for this but what is more relevant at this point is the glue that holds it all together.

Trust & Reputation

An article published in Feb 2015 on Forbes summarises it nicely – The Future of the Sharing Economy Depends on Trust. The key point being here that if you are not going to trust the person that rents your house on Airbnb or the guy who responds to your request for a lift on Uber, the whole system is going to fall apart pretty quickly.

This is where Rachel takes it one step further suggesting that it’s not just trust but also your reputation that is key (and I’m not talking about LinkedIn endorsements here. I’ve often felt these weren’t really worth a lot. I’ve since learnt I was wrong. Apparently 1,000 endorsements is worth US$80 –

Why Is Reputation Relevant?

For those of us that work in some form of consulting capacity I feel that this is incredibly important. For starters the consulting industry is a form of a sharing economy. People or organisations renting available resources (consultants) from other people or organisations. The big thing missing here at the moment is the technology which accompanies a true sharing economy to enable sharing at scale. But leaving that aside for now…

So why are trust and reputation so important in the consulting world? Even more so now? Well there are a number the changes in the way that consulting companies are working and the way that clients are behaving. There are also big changes afoot in the industry in general.

I’ve outlined a number of areas where professional services firms fall down at the moment in a previous blog (which you can find here) but suffice to say not all are doing a great job at keeping their people happy.

When it comes to behaviour of clients what I have seen is a greater desire (and sometimes insistence) to meet the team that is proposed for carrying out a proposed piece of work. Clients will vett the proposed team using tools such as LinkedIn. They want to know they are getting the best team rather than assuming that they will get the best team as perhaps promised.

And in terms of industry change, the recent Workforce 2020 report suggests companies will have a much higher reliance on a contract workforce in the not-too-distant future. In her work, Rachel highlights a shift from trusting in institutions to trusting in individuals.

Now let’s put all that together.

  • A global trend for organisations to rely on contract professionals
  • A global shift from trusting in organisations to trusting in individuals
  • Customers wanting the best resources possible to complete required projects
  • Professional services firms not keeping their people engaged / happy

What do you get? To steal from Mike Ettling, we have the rise of the contingent worker.

The Perfect Storm

Sure we might be looking at the perfect storm here for the contingent worker / contract professional but that in itself is not enough for individuals, or companies for that matter, that want to seize the opportunity.

Now, more than ever before, your reputation as an individual and as an organisation will be key. For individuals I believe this will be depend primarily on two things; what people say about the work that you have done and what value people believe you will bring to the table. Putting that a different way; you might be recognised as a thought leader in a specific area but if you don’t like to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty people will quickly work out that you might know what you’re on about but you don’t deliver.

Many years ago I worked with a guy who was an absolute genius. His ability to break down complex problems into technical solutions was astounding. But waiting for him to actually finish building a solution was something else again. He could never deliver and for that reason I avoided working with him at all costs. Don’t be that guy.

From the perspective of an organisation it’s not too dissimilar. Yes, now you have the opportunity find and engage specialists on an as-needed basis. But to attract the best you better have a good reputation too. And for me that consists of two things as well; the culture of both the organisation and the team said specialist will be working with and secondly the environment. Breaking that down simply, are you offering a great place and great team to work with?

At nomadd we are focused on ensuring that not only can contract professionals and organisations find the right roles or right people quickly and efficiently but that you find people or companies that have a reputation that precedes them.

We want you to know for sure that when you are signing on for a new role it’s with a company that is well respected by people that you know and trust. And likewise that if you are bringing someone on to assist with a task it is someone that comes highly recommended by people you know and that you respect.

And this is where Rachel has hit the nail on the head because in the new world your reputation will be the most powerful currency that you have.

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About the Author :

Joel Stehr

Founder at | Startup addict & advisor | Lean startup student | Technology evangelist

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