Last year, I was thrilled when I found out that I’d been chosen to speak at PubCon.  The very next day, I found out that I was expecting my second child.  I was thrown head first into planning for baby while planning for one of the biggest moments in my career in online reputation management to date.  Because of the timing of these two events, I’ve been spending a lot of time comparing the two very different worlds.  One thing I’ve found?  They’re not as different as I may have once

  1. It’s always ‘someone else’s’ fault.  Seriously.  Is a reputation crisis ever your fault?  Much like my three year old, when talking to others in the midst of a crisis, they’ve been cast in a bad light because of something that infamous ‘someone else’ did.  One thing I work on with my preschooler and clients alike is getting through to them that their friends/parents/customers/competition do not care whose fault it is.  They want an honest apology and they want the issue resolved.  Often, we spend too much time focusing on the reasons for an issue and not enough time focusing on fixing those issues.
  2. Use your manners.  Some of the most important words you’ll ever use are “please” and “thank you”.  Use them.  Often.
  3. Being a good kind friend is critical to reputation success.  You never know who’s going to be the next evangelist for your brand.  Reaching out to your peers with kindness (and teaching your clients to do the same) is going to get you much further in your reputation building efforts than being the classroom bully.  Building strong industry friendships will ensure that someone always has your back. Whether you need some help promoting a new product or service, or you need someone to stick up for you in a time of crisis, know who you can count on.  Most preschoolers are usually pretty good at this, so why is it so hard for some adults?
  4. Keep your hands (and your nose) clean.  Germs spread like wildfire wherever children seem to congregate, much like rumors do with adults.  Minimize damage to your own reputation by keeping your nose out of situations where you may be associated with a less than desirable situation.
  5.  Taking a break is never a bad idea.  As much as we fight it, when a crisis breaks out, the best thing to do is take a step back, and while you may not go take a nap, think about what is happening, and what your desired outcome is before you dive in with both feet.  We all know how ugly things get when kids miss their nap time, it’s no different when faced with a reputation crisis.  Working past the point of exhaustion will lead to nothing but tears and tantrums.  Let’s just hope it’s not you having that tantrum.

I’m sure there are a million more similarities.  What have you learned about how to better do your job from parenting – or vice versa?

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