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Passion, People and Principles

The Disproportionality Principle

post # 88 — May 25, 2006 — a Careers, Client Relations post

You are never known by your best, but you are always tarnished by your worst.

Your triumphs are often forgotten by the marketplace – your disasters rarely are.

You’ll spend a long time recovering from one job done badly, or one client (or boss) disappointed in you.

People talk, and they criticize and gossip more than they praise.

It can take years to build trust, moments to lose it.

I’m not sure what you can do about this, except try, desperately try, not to mess anything up, and if you still do, try to mend fences (and your reputation) before you move on.


David Koopmans said:

Lovely observation. I agree that there is nothing you can do about this, but that’s ok; there are lot’s of things outside of our control. It may be this obsession with control that stops us from achieving our longterm goals, which can only by achieved by setting a course, doing your very best and ride the waves of all the uncertain and uncontrollable aspects of (business) life.

posted on May 25, 2006

Eric Boehme said:

I had to share this with my readers. It fits right in with my fairly cynical mood today. Human nature? Or are we bombarded with such negative impressions every day that we cannot turn up the signal and wipe out the noise? :)


posted on May 25, 2006

Duncan Bucknell said:


I agree to some extent, but in my experience, people who know and trust you will actually forgive and forget time and again. It probably helps to think of this problem in terms of the ‘Emotional Bank Account’ which Stephen Covey has made popular. A mistake is a large withdrawal from your account. Hopefully by your past and future actions (not words) you have and will build up enough credit to overcome this. Your ‘trusted advisor’ approach to serving clients aligns very well with this.



posted on May 25, 2006