Your Most Valuable Asset

What is your most valuable asset?

According to Dr. Theodore Leavitt, Dean of the Harvard Business School, the most valuable asset that a company has is its reputation.

Dr. Leavitt defines reputation as “How you are known to your customers”.

In marketing and business, we refer to this as your “positioning” or “brand.” Your reputation is determined by the way that your customers and prospective customers talk about your company in the marketplace.

When we work with business owners and executives, we ask the question, “How would it be helpful or useful for people to talk about your company?”

In other words, if you could be a fly on the wall and listen to one of your customers talk to one of your prospective customers about your company, what would you want them to say?

Would you want people to talk about your company by saying that you have high quality products and services, excellent customer service, before and after the sale, that you are a high integrity company and that your people are some of the nicest people to deal with in the industry?

What would you like people to say about your company? More importantly, what could you begin doing, starting today, to make sure that people talk about you in a positive way after they have done business with you?

In positioning, you build your reputation around the words that you want to own in your customer’s mind. Top companies like BMW own the words, “The Ultimate Driving Machine.”

Wal-Mart has become the most successful retail company in history with the words, “Everyday Low Prices.”

Every company that is successful, and every product that is successful, can be summarized in one or two words in the minds of its customers and prospective customers. What are yours? What could they be? What should they be? 

This brings us to the most important part of these Words of Wisdom today. It is the discovery that your personal reputation is your most valuable asset as well. Your personal reputation, the way that you are known to others and talked about by others when you are not there, is the most valuable asset you have in determining your success and happiness.

People who succeed over the long term are invariable those who have excellent reputations. The people around them respect them and talk highly of them when they are not there. Top people are known for certain qualities, especially integrity, honor, straight-forwardness, quality work and dependability.

In other words, your most valuable reputation is your character. It is your willingness and ability to make commitments and then to keep your word. It is your ability to deliver on your promises, to do what you say you will do, every time, without exception.

One of the great weaknesses in the human character is the tendency to follow the path of least resistance. This leads people to do things that are fun and easy, and which offer immediate gratification, rather than to do the things that are hard and difficult, but which lead to greater success in the future.

The key determinant of character is self-discipline. Self-discipline was defined by Albert Hubbard as, “The ability to make yourself do the things you should do, when you should do them, whether you feel like it or not.”

It takes no character or discipline to do things when you feel like it, such as getting up earlier in the morning to plan your day, engaging in vigorous physical exercise to keep healthy and alert, eating the right foods, and fewer of them, etc.

It takes tremendous discipline and willpower for you to discipline yourself to do those things that are hard and necessary, but which lead on to success and happiness.

The most important emotion determining your happiness and your relationships with other people is your level of self-esteem. The more you like yourself and respect yourself, the more you like and respect others, and the more they like and respect you in return.

There is a direct relationship between self-discipline and self-esteem. The more you discipline yourself to do the things that you know you should do, whether you feel like it or not, the more you like and respect yourself. The more you like and respect yourself, the more you like and respect others and the better is your entire life.

Your most valuable asset then is your character, based on willpower and self-discipline. It is your ability to keep your promises, no matter what it costs. It is your determination to do high quality work, and to do it on time and on budget, as you promised.

When you develop a reputation as a high-quality person, who’s word is absolutely trustworthy, and who does high-quality work, your future will be guaranteed.

About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.

Follow Brian & Join the Discussion