Reputation is both simple and complex. At first glance, it’s very simple indeed; it’s what people think of you. However, when you try to formalise it and then try to measure it, things gets much more tricky.
Borrowing from science, it is sometimes helpful to observe a subject’s properties in order to better understand it.
I’ve listed some of the properties of reputation below. I’ve found them helpful in understanding its complexity and managing it. Do you agree with them? Would you add to them or remove any of them?
Reputation is divisible right down to the individual – you can have a different reputation among different groups.
Reputation is connected – if you change your reputation among one group, your reputation among others might change too.
Some people or groups have more influence over your reputation than others.
Reputation cannot be accumulated or diminished in standardised units – it cannot be spent like money. This does not mean you cannot draw upon a good reputation during troubling moments
It’s easier to lose a good reputation than it is to build one.