The Hon Alex Hawke MP, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, cancelled Novak Djokovic’s visa late on Friday 14 January on health and good order grounds saying it was in the public interest to do so.
But what can Djokovic’s role in this teach us about reputation?
Reputation takes a long time to build. It’s predicated on a perceived authenticity around a core purpose which is judged according to deeds and actions aligned with that purpose.
The key is knowing who you are and being seen to stick with it. This match-up saw breaks of that all-important emotional bond with stakeholders.
Over the course of this mismatch, some first supported Djokovic, then switched, switched again and ended up supporting one or the other side, or neither. Some supported one side and stuck to their guns all the way through.
Irrespective, the biggest reputation issue was consistency of narrative, and in this respect the waters were well and truly muddied. Many argued that Djokovic downright mislead everyone.
At the heart of reputation lies trust. And for many ‘the Joker’ broke this.
Now we know the outcome, there are some lessons for Djokovic in four tried and trusted reputation management principles to rebuild tarnished reputations.
First, do what you say you will do. Don’t say one thing – and do something else or see something contrary emerge.
Second, be prepared to sincerely acknowledge faults and take the blame for where you went wrong. No-one can build or keep a good reputation or be seen to trustworthy or credible by failing to admit errors.
It can be argued the Djokovic was trying to do this in his admission that he undertook an interview and travelled after testing positive for COVID-19 and filling out his immigration form incorrectly. The question, however, was one of sincerity.
Third, understand you’ll never please everyone. So, acknowledge the different perspectives.
Finally, be transparent, authentic and act with integrity.
There was plenty of double faulting in this five-setter, and some significant reputation hits all of which will take some time to rebuild.