Be more concerned with your character than your reputation

Author Juho Toivola

Published 7.10.2022

Executive MBA

The Reputation & Responsibility (R&R) module of the Henley Executive MBA – Global is an interesting combination of theoretical input about reputation management, corporate social responsibility, and an immersive hands-on project with a non-profit organisation in South Africa. The module was kicked off with a three-day workshop in Helsinki and the immersive trip to South Africa soon follows.

During the workshop, I learned a lot about different models for measuring and managing reputation but the most interesting one for me was the Corporate Character Scale, which tries to answer this question: ”If this organisation came to life as a person, what personality/character would it have?”. As the old saying goes ”You should be more concerned with your character than your reputation”, and looking at the different aspects of corporate character was a good reminder that we should focus more on the actions that define us rather than the current reputation. I don’t mean to say that reputation is irrelevant, it’s just that reputation is more a consequence of the character rather than a characteristic in itself.

Measuring reputation and defining corporate character are also an important part of our field work for this module. In our consulting project, we are working with a non-governmental organisation (NGO) called The Justice Desk, which is headquartered in South Africa, and is also active in Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Justice Desk empowers ordinary people to understand and defend their human rights. During our workshop, we had the first introductory video call with their representatives and we were truly impressed with what they had to share. 

For this group project. I have the pleasure of working together with seven talented individuals: Daniel, Jori, Juhani, Jukka, Matti, Marjo and Petri. Each of us brings our unique strengths to the table and in our first meeting we divided responsibilities accordingly in order to get the most out of our team. I was tasked with the responsibility of leading and coordinating the team’s work, which I’m happy to do.
When writing this, we have exactly one month before we depart to South Africa. That leaves us with just enough time for preparing our stakeholder interviews and other aspects of reputation research that we’ll be conducting during our trip. Our client is expecting solid analysis and firm recommendations from us. It’s time to get started so we can meet these expectations! I can’t wait to visit South Africa for the first time.

You can follow my EMBA journey through weekly updates with the hashtag #JuhoGoesEMBA on LinkedIn.

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Juho Toivola

Juho Toivola is Henley's Executive MBA graduate and brand ambassador. He's an organisational psychologist leading two Finnish companies, Asselmointi and Digital Minds. As a proud father of three small children, Juho lives an active life in the happy town of Lempäälä, Finland. He has shared his MBA journey from 2021 to 2023. #JuhoGoesEMBA