Do good and get caught

 Make sure most all of the good deeds you do elicit positive "points" in the scorecard of life.

Make sure most all of the good deeds you do elicit positive "points" in the scorecard of life.

“Do good and get caught,” is my five-word definition of effective brand-building for companies, organizations and people.

We all know what happens when we do bad - we eventually get caught. But how do you effectively get “caught” for doing the right thing? There’s an art to it, as well as a fine line never to cross: Don't do good deeds just to win points. If you do, people will see through it and your efforts will backfire.

We all know the phrase, “Your reputation precedes you.” We visit an organization’s website and conduct a search before we meet in person. Your LinkedIn profile is often a top search result when you Google your own name. If you’re a good person, your reputation works for you. And if you’re a bad person, your bad reputation will follow you everywhere in our small, interconnected world. 

So, show up. Do the right thing for all the right reasons. And your positive reputation will surely follow.

“You can’t build your reputation on what you’re going to do.” – Henry Ford

This is the only quote visible in my office. It reminds me — every day — that what we do TODAY makes TOMORROW happen. It’s the cumulative impact of all your deeds and accomplishments that truly define you.

I wish every elected official and leader truly understood that our reputations live in our rearview windows. Our actions — not our promises — define our reputations.

Helping people without an expectation of a direct payback is both authentic and rewarding, especially when you get caught.

I have been privileged to witness the value of doing good from many amazing people in my life, but it took Shirley and Barnett Helzberg to teach me about the value of getting caught. They are both angels in KC. They are extremely generous.

They believe that putting your name out front for philanthropy demonstrates your personal leadership and commitment, and helps encourage others. We now have Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and Helzberg Penguin Plaza at the Kansas City Zoo among many other examples.

Instead of anonymous gifts (which are also deeply appreciated and appropriate in certain situations), the Helzbergs are visible leaders. The entire Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) movement has proven that organizations that "do good" enjoy better business success. This is ever more important as the workforce starts shifting from millennials to Gen Z.

Our work is often behind the scenes helping our clients become heroes. We leave our ego at the door while others get the spotlight.

Except for philanthropy. Shanny and I are fortunate to be able to help others. We like getting caught for helping repair our world. 

Do good, and get caught.  Adopt this five word mantra, and win.

Onward.