Thursday, April 25, 2013


 Part 2


An Apocryphal Story
A Naval Yarn

Please read this only if you have a sense of humour. This is a spoof, an apocryphal story, a work of fiction. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. So first convince yourself that you have a sense of humor and only then read the yarn and have a laugh. By the way this story is for adults only, so if you are a kid just give it a skip.

Continued from Lectures on Reputation Management Part 1 – You and Your Reputation:

Reputation is closely linked with trust.

If you have a good reputation people will trust you, and vice versa, trustworthiness will earn you a good reputation.

Your reputation risk, the extent of loss of reputation and how quickly you can redeem your lost reputation in case of a reputation damaging incident, depends on how fast and how completely you can recover trust.

Let me give you an example.

A few days ago we had an impromptu get-together of friends – some good old navy buddies and their families and a few civilian friends as well, young and old.

The “hot topic” of discussion were the headlines in that morning’s newspaper about alleged Wife Swapping in the Navy:

There were widely differing reactions to this piece of news about alleged wife swapping in the navy.

An idealistic senior citizen was OUTRAGED – “How can this happen in the navy? This is the worst kind of moral turpitude. I thought the navy had the highest moral standards. How can we trust a navy where such horrible debauchery goes on? I have lost faith in our navy,” he shouted, angry and livid.

It was clear that he seemed to have completely lost trust in the navy.

“It is really DISGUSTING,” a lady said, “I am not going to let my daughter marry a naval officer if these kinds of dirty things like wife-swapping are going on in the navy.”

Her trust in the navy was severely damaged.

“This is just sensationalism,” a newly retired naval officer said, “Even in our time we used to hear rumors about secret key-chain clubs and people stealing affections. But such matters were tackled with finesse, discreetly and within the four walls of the service.” I am CONCERNED at all this media coverage and negative publicity which is tarnishing the good name of the service.

His trust in the navy had diminished.

“Yes, I am really DISAPPOINTED at the way the navy has handled this delicate issue,” another retired naval officer said. 

He seemed to have some skepticism in his mind as to whether the navy could be trusted to handle such issues.

“What’s the big deal?” a young IT Techie said, “these things go on in the civilian world too. There is nothing wrong with consensual sex.”  

The young urban IT Techie seemed INDIFFERENT and unconcerned about this issue.

“Read the news report carefully. It speaks of allegations about officers forcing their wives to have sex with their seniors to get promotions – the navy is a closed organizations and a lot of things can happen under the guise of discipline. Let me tell you, if these allegations are indeed true, then I would feel scared to join the navy or marry a naval officer,” a young lady said, with CONSTERNATION.

Her trust in the navy had been dented.

“Yes, the whole thing is quite shocking to me. I had a very different image about social life in the navy and this scandalous news of wife-swapping has really SURPRISED me,” a lady said.

The alleged wife-swapping news report had created suspicions about trust in the navy and tarnished the reputation of the navy that she held in her mind.

I wondered at the range and variety of reactions.

All these persons were “stakeholders” as far as the navy was concerned.

In fact, not only internal stakeholders like naval officers and sailors mattered, but as far as the reputation of the navy was concerned, every citizen was a stakeholder.

Reputation is perception-based.

The navy’s reputation consists of perceptions – whether true or false – held by all stakeholders about the navy.

The navy is held in high esteem by all citizens and enjoys a good reputation and that is why everyone has high ethical expectations and expects immaculate conduct from the navy. 

What effect will all this have on the navy’s reputation?

Is it possible to carry out a reputation damage impact assessment?

How can the navy mitigate the reputation damage?

All this I will discuss in Part 3 of this series of Reputation Management.

Till then, here is a paraphrased quote attributed to Warren Buffett:

“Reputations take years to build, but a moment to destroy. It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it. If you understand this, you will do things differently”

To be continued in Part 3 …

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2013
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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

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