Sometimes the less said about you is not better! I recall my days in the banking world when people and businesses were rying to take on further finance, loans or debt finance and their own banks were asked to provide a reference. This bank reference was quite simply the opportunity for a bank to describe whether or not they felt their customer was a good customer or not.
Understandably there were always mixed loyalties here, if they were overly positive then the customer would receive the financial support from a competitor, which in turn might cost them the client. Contrary to that they could say nice things about someone that was not a good customer in order to get rid of them but this course of action could in the long run return to haunt them. Usually the shorter the reference, the worse the customer potentially was. If you had nothing good to say about the person don’t make anything up just state yes, Mr Smith was a customer for the last ten years and we have managed his banking during that time. Neither positive nor negative.
Contrast this scenario to my own situation when at the age of 18 I was applying to colleges and universities for the next stage of my education. My results had surprised many of my teachers as I hadn’t failed across the board as they had predicted. There was one particular college I was very interested in attending in Cheltenham in the UK – St Paul & St Mary – to do a course in sport and business. Unknown to me at the time the school reference could have been written on a post-it note, it was that short. Yes, Mike attended this school and played some sport. Its brevity was damning and no offer came forward.
How do people talk about you in your personal or business life? Do they tell great stories of the amazing times you have together or the trips and excursions you do? In business do they describe the meteoric changes that take place within their company because of your help, the impact you have had on your clients and the massive ongoing return on investment from your working relationship? . Or do they say, â€œHe’s alrightâ€ or, â€œShe knows her stuffâ€, or worse still, â€I can’t think what to say about themâ€?
If people, clients or friends are not talking about you behind your back in endearing terms and waxing lyrical about you, the less they say the more damning it becomes. Give people positive stories to share about you when you are not around – call it your legacy.