Beyond the Build


Reputation: It’s All About Boots on the Ground…

BootsWe all have things we view as assets, with wealth and other tangible possessions often being the primary focus. To me, personal reputation is sometimes the most important asset we possess. Being preceded by a positive reputation is a faster path to creating a relationship, delivering better product and attaining more success. If yours isn’t good, maybe you should get to working on it.

I was reminded of reputation’s business value earlier this week when I served on a panel with three other real estate professionals at a regional conference. During the presentation, one of my co-panelists shared this wisdom: “The reputation of those involved with our projects–everyone from the management team to the field– is very important when we select companies and consultants to help us. The project superintendent is the one who faces the hailstorms, the wind and the rain. When we are in the interview process, we always ask to meet with him or her.”

I was glad to hear his thoughts, as this is something I’ve been promoting at our company. As I recently shared with our management, I can help sell the project and we can run the process with solid project management. We can be credit-worthy and financially stable. All of this is important, but beyond the numbers, it is the reputation and the boots in the field that count in the long run. Our force of project superintendents combined with our reputation helps them manage the job before they even show up. And if all of this is done correctly will earn us repeat business, the “gold standard.”

Our real assets lie beyond a balance sheet. While the company’s reputation is important, the people who represent the company each day are more important. If the customer or prospects are chosen wisely, a good reputation will get one in the door. That should lead to more opportunities, all things being equal.

A good reputation takes time and hard work to develop, but in the end it helps carry the ball across the goal line. And why not build it correctly? Don’t tell folks what you can do. Just do it. In the end, it’s what you do not what you say, that provides leverage.


Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.