Today, for most senior level executives, change and disruption have never been more constant nor dynamic.  Any company’s hard earned, decades-long blue chip reputation can turn into a flaming-death spiral in a heartbeat with the rapidity of a negative social media tweet or a poor financial forecast.  Once a company has lost the trust of customers, investors and employees, regaining its reputation is a long, and perhaps impossible, road back.

If you find yourself as a senior executive with a company that is losing or has lost its reputational edge, there are three things to keep in mind when considering your career and job prospects:

  • Like it or not, you’ve hitched your reputation wagon to your company’s rep as a successful business. The longer you take in unhitching yourself from actual or even perceived business decline, the more you risk in not being a bright shiny object in the executive job market.  The results can be diminished attractiveness as a winning candidate for an open job with a new company.
  • We all know that bad situations can be turned around with the right leadership, strategy, resources, timing, luck, etc. However, don’t ever let hope that these things will fall into place and effect massive positive change becomes your plan to play it out.  Be at your critical and analytical best in assessing whether you – stay an eagle or become a crow!
  • Once you’ve decided it’s time to abandon ship, do it. Waiting for recruiters to find you on a sinking ship can cause you to miss significant top management opportunities in particular, if you’re with a company with a damaged reputation.  Proactive job search can only help you win the day in executive job competition.

Typically, it takes years to build personal credibility, trust and one’s reputation as a leader.  And yet, an individual or company can lose those things overnight even if you are not at fault for any missteps.  The company and personal reputation you bring to the executive job market is often the difference in being allowed to play in highly competitive job openings or being shut out of competing effectively for a job.