What's Your Reputation Worth?

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Categories: Pastors Blog

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Dear Pastors

What’s your reputation worth?

Todays blog is written by Rob Hennin. Rob has spent much of his working life in the top echelons of business . He is currently CEO and Director of Nib NZ and also Director of several companies. He is a member of the NZ and Australian Institute of Directors and attends St Chads church in Auckland.

Organisations are judged by the court of public opinion. This happens regularly from internal sources by our members (congregation) and externally by the media and the public in general, including future members.

Alans recent blog titled ‘Managing The Brand’ brought into focus the importance of our reputation and highlighted the importance of building blocks of good character like honesty, courage, transparency, inclusiveness, and diversity – all factors that can be assessed, measured and tracked. If we have a poor reputation we will quite rightly lose friends and our organisations will lose members. Organisations with a great reputation find that staff morale is higher and more people want to be associated with them.

Moments of truth

In my organisation we talk about ‘moments of truth’. The defining times when a member finds out whether we will deliver on our promise or not. How well an organisation prepares for and responds to these moments of truth defines us. One test is whether we deliver on our commitments, another might be how we respond to a serious issue. What we do in these moments defines public trust and confidence in us.

Let’s have a quick look at two current moments of truth. Two organisations have had more public scrutiny than they would have liked recently. Arise Church and DGL.

The DGL CEO’s inappropriate comments about Nadia Lim and his behaviour since are unacceptable. The DGL Boards tardy apology and lack of action has damaged their credibility in the market. DGL’s business partners and the share market have judged them quickly and harshly. DGL to quit NZX after Nadia Lim debacle

I know little about the issues at Arise Church except what I’ve seen in the press and social media. From the Arise leadership’s public response we still really don’t know what’s happened. Arise’s lack of engagement, transparency and swift action is doing their organisation and membership enormous harm. Founders of Arise Church resign amid abuse allegations

In both the Arise and DGL cases people associated with these organisations knew there were serious risks well before these organisations were crucified by the media. These catastrophes could have been avoided, and it’s certainly time now for the leaders in these organisations to act decisively.

Tone from the Top

The world is moved along, not only by the might shoves of heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker” - Helen Keller

Active risk identification and management is important to protect our organisations, people and reputation and ensure that their purpose can be sustained. The tone is set from the top. What we’re seeing leading up to today’s issues with DGL and Arise is a clear lack of risk management by their leadership teams(Management, Boards, Elders).

Where are the biggest risks for your organisation?
If you don’t have a framework to assess risks you can start by looking at potential culture, conduct, disruption and financial risks. In the DGL and Arise examples the behaviours and actions of their CEO/ Senior Pastors created conduct risk. The myriad of risks that we all face , if not managed well expose our organisation to culture risk, conduct risk, disruption risks and financial risk. These can be managed.

A strong risk culture and commitment from leadership to being honest and ethical (tone from the top) is a critical foundation of organisational health and sustainability. Actively anticipating, mitigating and managing risks significantly reduces the potential for damage to an organisation’s reputation. Negative publicity, poor public perception or events that cause people harm are often avoidable.

What gets measured gets done

The old saying ‘what gets measured gets done’ is true. Organisations should have a Risk Register which the leaderships teams openly review and challenge. Effective risk identification and review processes create a strong foundation for monitoring, reporting and oversight of the actions to control the risks. This process creates an open, transparent and accountable culture in an organisation.

Organisations that have a process to evaluate risks from all angles (board, leadership, members, congregation, stakeholders)are better placed to anticipate and mitigate issues than those that don’t. It’s worth the time to identify material risks that may have a potential impact on an organisation executing it’s mission and sustaining its reputation.

The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it” - William Jess

This all sounds like a lot of work right ? Yes it is! But, not as much work as dealing with the long term fallout from the type of catastrophes that Arise and DGL now face .

The leaders moment of truth

The loftier the building, the deeper must the foundation be laid” Thomas Kempis


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