Reputation leadership – speaking truth to power

By Cathy Byrne

I’d never heard of Smartmatic, the electronic voting company until this week but I’m impressed. Here’s a company that understands how important it is to live your mission and values. The firm hit the headlines recently by suggesting that Venezuela’s electoral authorities ‘tampered with’ this week’s vote on the new constituent assembly, inflating the turn out by one million.

Smartmatic’s mission is “to increase integrity in the democratic process.” No doubt CEO Antonio Mugica was thinking about his company’s mission when he took the bold step to speak out against the Venezuelan authorities on this issue.

Antonio Mugica, Smartmatic’s chief executive, speaks during a press briefing in central London. Photograph: Niklas Halle'N/AFP/Getty Images

Antonio Mugica, Smartmatic’s chief executive, speaks during a press briefing in central London. Photograph: Niklas Halle'N/AFP/Getty Images

At ReputationInc we work with companies and organisations to manage their reputations. That starts with helping them define why they exist, what they want to achieve and how they behave. Our philosophy is that you get the reputation you deserve based on what you do, what you say and what others say about you. So I want to applaud Mr Mugica and his team for taking a stand and living the mission and values of their company, for there is so much at stake.

Venezuela is a country close to my heart. I visited there over 10 years ago when my twin brother got married to a native Venezuelan. It’s a beautiful country, with beautiful people and what’s happened over the last decade is shocking. The social, political and economic problems are rife. Venezuela is now on the brink of dictatorship and possibly civil war. This, from a country that has the world’s largest oil reserves.

Reputation leadership is about taking a stand and being true to what you believe. Sometimes that’s difficult and involves making tough choices but take a bow Mr Mugica for showing others how it’s done. 

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