Reputation is built on three things:

  • what people say about you;
  • what you say about yourself and
  • how your actions and behaviours reflect what you stand for

The first element is, of course, affected largely by the other two. It is therefore essential that our organisations are clear about what we stand for, how we are expected to behave and how we communicate our vision. If we are not clear about this ourselves, how can we expect residents and businesses to understand and support us?

Our leadership, both political and corporate, should leave our organisations in no doubt about this foundation of reputation. However, leadership is not just being clear about what our reputation is built upon but also being seen to be committed to it and inspiring our organizations to behave consistently in ways that support what we stand for.

We are facing a period of unprecedented change – both as a country and as organisations. The organisations that do well in tough times are those that are ‘values-led’ as well as performance-driven. Embedding a clear understanding of the vision and behaviours that define the organisation will help bring managers and their teams with us and deliver the change needed to meet new challenges. And a clearly articulated, authentic sense of purpose will show residents that what they want from their local authority is what we are committed to providing.

Leadership checklist:

ü Clarity of purpose - we know what we stand for and can express it in three sentences

ü Commitment - there is a clear commitment from political, corporate and management leadership to embedding the vision and behaviours across the council.