Jon Michail's Personal Branding Masterclass

Your Reputation is Everything, with Paul Wheelton

September 23, 2021 Jon Michail Season 1 Episode 10
Jon Michail's Personal Branding Masterclass
Your Reputation is Everything, with Paul Wheelton
Show Notes Transcript

“It doesn’t matter what other people think of you, but only what you think of yourself” - does this phrase always work in the corporate world? Discover it here, in this episode.

Do you want Jon's help to elevate your personal brand? Get in touch here:

Let's connect:

Twitter: @jon_michail
Instagram: @imagegroupinternational

Episode's guest: Paul Wheelton - Australian business leader, philanthropist and owner of 12 Budget Rent a Car franchises. Currently, he spends his time as the Chairman of the Bali Children Foundation, among other philanthropic activities. 

Twitter: @pwheelton

Podcast Editor and Producer: Ana Carolina Alves 

Additional Voice: Charles The Voice 

Music: Have a Smoke by Crowander (CC BY 4.0)

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Welcome to Jon Michail’s Personal Branding Masterclass. Jon is the founder and CEO of image group international and award-winning image consulting and personal branding pioneer established in 1989. This podcast will bring you old school wisdom, inspiring ideas, strategies and hacks for the new tech world. Here you will learn everything about personal branding: the system, the techniques and the right mindset to have a successful personal brand, image and reputation.

Jon: Hello, everybody, and today I am chatting with business leader and philanthropist Paul Wilton. As an introduction to Paul for the last 35 years, Paul has been the managing director and owner of the largest budget rent a car franchise group in Australia. 20 years ago, Paul now spends the majority of his time working in the not for profit sector. Also, Paul was awarded the Order of Australia medal in 2009 and the AM in 2017 for services to a range of children’s charities to which he has actively contributed. Paul, I want to thank you for being here today.

Paul: It's a pleasure Jon, always good to speak with you.

Jon: Thank you, Paul. So the topic in this episode is reputation is everything or more specifically, your reputation is everything. Warren Buffett said it takes 20 years to build the reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently. Paul, what's your take on that quote?

Paul: Warren Buffett, what a great man, and reputation is everything. And I suppose in our conversation tonight, it's probably going to be about personal reputation. But I'd like to take you back one step and talk about success in business. And Jeff Bezos, from Amazon, who everyone would know, says you can earn a reputation by trying to do hard things well. Now, why franchise systems work well in the world and why they're, you know, a formula for making money is, it's about consistently doing things well. Alright. And by that, you get a reputation that then your customers will keep coming back. So it's building a reputation by consistently doing good things or doing what you do well, right. And that could be you know when I'm McDonald's making a hamburger, you wouldn't think it was that big of a thing. But they've got a reputation for making, you know, one of the best hamburgers. And that's why they're successful. So looking at, I apply that to business, and I suppose the way to lead into that being a franchisee of a worldwide organization, as in a budget recap. But, you know, along the track, I saw the importance of that, how that reputation, actually what it meant, how we started to surpass our competition, while we had such long-serving customers, and that then reflected further into why we had such a long-serving staff, right? Because that reputation works both ways it works with the customers and also works with the staff and how you treat them.

Jon: Absolutely. Well, thank you for that. So we've heard in life, you know, it doesn't matter what other people think of you, what really matters is what you think of yourself. Well, you know, this is fairly easy advice to give at times, and the hardest to take. And you know, in my job as a coach, it's really interesting, because people are very good at judging others on results, and generally judge themselves on efforts. So do you actually agree with that? Do you actually agree, Paul, that at times we are harsh on judging others and less harsh on ourselves? Or of course, vice versa? We could be doing more damage to ourselves at times and maybe be more forgiving to others? What do you think about that?

Paul: Yes. Is this a conversation that are we talking about the glass half full person as well, because glass half full person, you know, he someone is not looking at everyone else, criticizing them and all that he's getting on whether it's supporting others, all right, and trying to make a better person of him or him or herself? So, you know, some of these, in preparation for this job. I had a look at some of the quotes out there and there are some brilliant ones out there. You know, going back to George Washington, as you said, and many others, Benjamin Franklin had one and it takes many good deeds to build a reputation and only one bad one to lose. So you When we're talking about here is this consistent work of, of trying to improve yourself, you've got to look at yourself. Because you know, that is your reputation. Right? And it's doing those things consistently said. And I know in your business Jon, image is such a big thing. And having worked with you over the years, in different capacities, either through our charitable work, or I learned something very important that is presenting yourself and how you present yourself creates an image, but it also creates your reputation. Right? How do you want to be seen, all right, and creating that reputation then means about consistency, selves, how you're going to be seen consistently. And that's, that's, that's really important. And when you and that also means that you're reliable.

Jon: So I totally get what you're saying, then, of course, Benjamin Franklin is one of my heroes. So thank you, Paul, for bringing up Benjamin Franklin. Because his virtues, his training on virtues is like, you know, of course, based on Socrates originally, but it's, it's the most amazing, you know, the amazing concept for living your life on a daily basis. But what I want to say is this to backup, everything you said, you know, the truth is, building a good reputation requires effort, right? Patience and time. So building, what I would call is a gold standard reputation takes a lifetime. And, you know, communicating with you this evening, I mean, you've definitely got a gold standard reputation, I can clearly basically vouch for that. So what I want to say also is, as we've mentioned before, with some of the other people were mentioned, quitting, Warren Buffett destroying the good reputation only requires a single moment, misstep? What have you got to say about that? And have you got any experience over your years where you've seen that happen? 

Paul: I think you can just pick up the newspaper from the weekend and see, Nadia bagatelles, who, you know, it's got so many 10k of 1000k of followers, and she makes a mistake, say gets caught at a party during a lockdown starting at something and all of a sudden, she's lost a major customers. And, you know, it could actually, you know, kill her career. I know, in the rental car space where I operate, you know, the, you keep your customers by keeping your standards, alright, and we've had a few rogue operators around in different brands who, who have, you know, taken the shortcut to make a profit at the expense of the customer. And, you know, the end result is always a negative one, the end result is you always lose if you are going to go down that track. The other side of that is if you're keeping up on that, the advantages of having this reputation, and the doors that have opened for you is quite incredible. And I particularly now referring to my work in the philanthropic area, with charities and things like that, by having that reputation now, you know, I, I can get through the gatekeeper that so many organizations or I can get to the person or the top I can, you know, ring up and say go and you know, have a chat with someone and all that. Because my reputation is solid, they know I'm not going to be there to you know, basically hit the map or do anything. They know that why is this person you know, coming to see me? Okay, I'll give him a quick brief. Yes, listen, I know about him, or I can look him up I can look on LinkedIn and say, yeah, listen, I'm prepared to make that this is not, I'm not going to be hit up or, you know, this is not some odd person out there. Because, you know, especially when you're dealing with the higher levels of thing, you know, I'm dealing now and a lot of high nets worth individuals and things like that, and they do have gatekeepers, it is hard to get in there and all that but the flow on from doing that in the philanthropic side to actually then you know them actually using our company for business and all that is a is a flow-on.

Jon: So I can see obviously the benefits of a great reputation now that you've been around for quite a while Paul, and of course, you know, with a lot of success that you've had in business, but originally, you know, originally, how did you find out that reputation matters?

Paul: Actually, I'm an old fashioned Anglican, okay, so I, you know, I was brought up on you to get to the church and things and you get an understanding of the Scriptures and what's written there, you know, and, to me, it was a blueprint in my youth, you know, about you know, how you behave, how you should treat other people how you should expect people to treat you. So it was a great grounding in that to have so. And then from that was a thing that I learned fairly quickly was you know about your peer group. And you know why you've got to associate with a really good peer group or avoid association with a bad peer group because you will end up coming down to the lowest common denominator. So and So whilst you're looking at that, you realize, actually, when you look back, you know, I've got a PhD in hindsight. So I can say this. When you look back, you realize that's about actually building your own reputation, getting you to where you want to be get up to that next level. Okay, and it's not actually going around with the wrong set.

Jon: Absolutely, absolutely. So, well, I have some practical tips for our listeners as well on how we can keep a strong reputation and how I want to frame this is first, one of the things I would say is, keep your promises, do what you say you're going to do. And do it when you said you would call, what can you add to that particular first statement.

Paul: I mean, that's, that's a fundamental thing for successes. And I'm quite disciplined in quite a lot of ways. And you got to be disciplined in when you've got multiple hats on, especially in time management, and things like that, and do that. But it also means planning and things like that. So you know, I'm involved in about 20 different things. So you know, every January, I do, you know, a one-page business plan for everything that I'm involved in, and I set in place, what is going to happen for the year. And by doing that, in that time, I know, I'm not going to miss some key dates. I mean, a lot of these things actually might only need two or three or four decisions in the whole year, he will look at a property company or saying, you know, our review, should I be selling it, you know, any of these properties? Should we you know, will cash flow allow us to buy another property or whatever, then actually work that out well in advance and do that, you put it to put it into your plan, and then even then you don't have to worry about it until it's actually coming up to that trigger date. And you apply that through others. But what that means is everyone else knows where you're at, as well. So that's about people know what's expected of them. And people know that I'm going to do this every January and they can expect from me, this will be happening. That's when we look at how much we will go to different charities things like that. So it's creating that consistency.

Jon: So number two, the next one I've got is to keep your ego in check. Never let ego get in your way. What do you think of that one?

Paul: Ego is not a dirty word. Number one thing about ego, if there's no way to God, nothing's going to happen. So there's got to be an involved ego is what drives it is how you keep that in check, keep it in control, and accept that, you know, you're not the big cog in the wheel of the world or life. Right, you're a small cog, right? Do the best you can try and make a difference. That, you know, we are blessed with what we've been given. Don't think it's all about what you've done to get that. And this just keeps pulling you back. Look in the mirror sometimes and tell yourself, you know, that was great. But, you know, a lot of other people made this work.

Jon: Yes. So what we're talking about here is keeping your ego in check a healthy ego versus a toxic ego. And of course, we go into organizations and you know, it's perfect actually timing, to even look at what's going on in the world today. And how many egos we get on television every day that are virtually in many cases, toxic, you know, but presenters fairly solid, and what I would call is reputable. But from the point of view of, you know, when I say, of course, he goes essential. If you haven't got an ego, you won't get out of bed in the morning, bottom line. But it's how to use the ego for good and make a difference out there like you are okay, as opposed to using your ego as tyranny against people.

Paul: So a question you've got to ask yourself, why am I doing this next thing? Because if it comes down that you're only doing it to satisfy your ego and self promote yourself, right, then it's wrong. Right? And you can do that with your chicken thing. So you know, I do that quite often. Really? Why am I going to this event and all that is because I want to be seen to, like, show off or something like that, well, then I shouldn't be going, if I want to say okay, but if I go, I'll be able to get this person here who may be able to help me with this charity thing that I'm doing there? That's a different issue.

Jon: Sure, sure. That's great. Well, you know, I mean, how do you get to meet people? If you're not put yourself out there? Right. You know, and, you know, part of the conversation we're having, of course, as part of the work we do is always about, be seen, be heard, and be valued. And it's hard to be valued when the world doesn't even know about you. You know, so it's, you know, from a promotional point of view, I mean, as you would know, and all the conversations or work we've done together, promoting, either way, you either have to put yourself out there, or somebody has to do it for you. But it doesn't happen either way. I mean, because if you do nothing, nothing happens, you know, so...

Paul: What's the best way to do that? And one of those things that I know in these environments, and that is, stop talking about yourself, or ask questions of the others show interest in others, you're going to be much more respected and understood, especially if you're dealing with people who are the next rung up in life if you like, you know, I say this with high net worth individuals, you know, and they've got egos and they've got this an elaborate team, most of them are very well balanced. And all that the last thing they want to hear is someone spruiking off about themselves and what they've done. However, you know, you start asking serious questions about that, or what's their interest or something, all of a sudden, you're starting to form a bond. And that's not the provato of bullshit.

Jon: For sure, the bravado, always will get us into trouble, especially as blokes. So we've got to keep that in check. Definitely. So the third one I'd like to mention is to be accountable. And basically, Own your we'll call it mistakes. And, and, you know, and take responsibility, you know, another concept that probably has gone down in favour in recent times. So accountability is everything. Right? And I know, you know, you started off in that world as an accountant Paul, right. So what can you say about that? What about accountability? Really, other than just numbers, but what about being accountable for your life, as opposed to, you know, every time something stuffs up, you blame somebody else, and you act like a victim?

Paul: Okay, so I would turn that around, Jon, I'll put the glass half full thing there and say accountability is not just about you, it's accountability is looking after your staff accepting that they've actually got family, they've got children, they've got a thing, you know, that's a huge part of your accountability is to do the right thing. And be successful to look after those other things, looking after your family the accountability of doing those things, as well. So if you come from that way, the others things very much fall into place. Because by default, you're doing the right thing.

Jon: So what we're talking about here is a holistic approach, a macro approach to what you just mentioned, right? Big Picture, and then it comes to you, basically, in reference to presenting yourself, Paul, and you've done a great job doing this and your personal brand appropriately. What are some of the other final comments you can make on what's relevant in reference to, you know, presenting a credible reputation to the world? And by that, you know, reputation is really something that's always evolving? Yep. Okay, and the way in which your reputation, it's really your image, your personal brand, the way you are as a human being, and that sort of equals reputation. From your point of view, you've mentioned quite a few of the things that you've done to present yourself more powerfully. Is there anything that you can specifically mention to our audience, especially for somebody that might be even just starting out?

Paul: Here's one thing I did very early. I got a list of 100 different occupations or services or things on know that like an accountant, architect, graphic artist, and all that. And when I found a good one, right, that I could feel comfortable about referring to, I would put them on this list. The outcome of that was that people felt comfortable coming to me to ask my advice on Listen, I know you don't have it, Could you recommend something for that? So I Look at this thing of being a source of trust, or go to have, you know, what would you do about this 40. Now, anyone who does, you know, a good printer and this. So that really helped me in state and built the network very well and a lot of trusts. The other side to that is about, you know, them becoming a mentor and supporting other people. With that being open to actually people asking you to help them to mentor them, and things like that, particularly younger people. And those things actually really enhance your reputation by doing both of those things. Right? What's the underlying thing coming through a john, it's not all about you. Alright, this is I think it's, it's out of the Bible as well keep mentioning it. But you know, what you give out, you get back, but it is so true. Because unless, you know, you're prepared to actually do that, because otherwise, people will turn off you if you're going to just take take take all the time. Right? It's, you know, the law of logic, you know, it's a one-sided transaction, people will just desert you in droves. So, again, that's building your reputation.

Jon: For sure, for sure. And I mean, it's so much more so now because, you know, especially during lockdown and zoom meetings, and not enough, you know, face to face over coffee, or lunch, dinner, and so on, that sort of has accelerated it to the point where if you haven't got a good reputation, and your networks, then specifically, just trying to build that on zoom becomes so much more difficult, right? Because you need offline support as well, not just online, you know, so reputation plays a big part. So if you're going to, you know, if you're going to just, let's say mentor, a group of young kids right now, young people, because young people are going through a lot of tough times right now. Yeah. What would you know, what are the top three things you would say to them right now? That you've learned over the years, and if you were, you know, 20 years old again, you would have hoped somebody sorts of grabbed you by the scruff of your throat, okay, and said, Paul, these are the three things you're going to look out for.

Paul: Be nice to your mom and dad, eat your vegetables. All right, and stop swearing.

Jon: That's a good start. Anything else you want to say?

Paul: Education is just so important then and I'm not talking about you know, going getting an MBA and all that it's about installing in yourself. The understanding is that you need to continually keep learning or are learning more skills and they may be little things you know, how to do a craft or something else, but continually challenging yourself to take on something else. Alright, and improve yourself. I think that really thinks because, you know, you can come from nothing it's about learning. Second is the understanding that success in life has nothing to do with your intelligence. success in life is about how hard you're prepared to work. If it equals award. So yeah, so many people you come across are not smart enough to do this. I can't do that. You know, I didn't go and you know, answer a lot for him. You know, went to a private school had nothing to do with it. You know, it's effort equals reward you can get anywhere in life by putting in that effort. 

Jon: You went to a private school, but you came from a family, you as a 10-pound palm, right, Bull?

Paul: That's right. I was the youngest of four. And I was the only one who got together or private school because my parents valued education, but they borrowed the money for it. And I can remember my father taking me out when he was when I was 24. For dinner saying I've just paid off your school fees. And, you know, it's, it's an incredible thing for them to do that. They did that. I was lucky. I was the youngest, otherwise, I wouldn't have got that and that education has taken me so far. Yeah, what's worked for me anyway now straps, okay. The other siblings.

Jon: That is funny. And the third one, sorry, before I interrupted.

Paul: Understand the theory of compound interest. And that is, you know, leverage and just putting that little bit of why and just keep doing it and all that. And it just builds. I think, you know, I think to get Warren Buffett or another one of his, his quotes is saying the most powerful thing in the world Or in terms of wealth creation is compound interest. Or art, you can just put there, you know, you hear all the stories we have, you know, 10, bhp shares making whatever, you know, that'd be worth, you know, half a million dollars now because the number of times they divided them and. And so yeah, it's a bit, but it's a really important thing. And when you get that, because that is how wealth is really built, understanding that. And again, you use that for leverage. 

Jon: That mathematical formula you just mentioned regarding the leverage of, in this case, money. It's the same thing for reputation. You know, it's a mathematical formula of leveraging reputation. And if it's managed properly compound interest, right. That's how it works.

Paul:  One thing leads to the other. 

Jon: Yes, yeah. And, of course, you know, you mentioned also about after, you know, your formal education, you got to keep on learning. So what that sounds to me is you're going to become an autodidact in your life, you know, because traditional education only gives you so much right. Okay, where life education is what keeps on the building were already was set up initially, when you're younger, and the life education is what sort of leverage is everything else prior? So you're looking at it? Did you want to say something about that?

Paul: Yeah, the education and skill, it's not about actually, the subject matter that you're studying, it's actually learning the ability of actually where to go to actually find out about things, and the ability to, to research to actually the logical progression of something that, you know, my Yeah, how logic works. And it's those things there that enable you then to go and do things because, you know, anything I learned at school, in terms of the subject matter, I haven't used any of that for, you know, for whatever, probably, except for English. And some would say, I didn't learn enough of that. It's not that but what I learned how to how to go and look for things, go ahead and research things, how to look up things to learn how to, you know, communicate, to see the worlds, you know, there is more than one way to look at things. That's the education that I got that was important. And again, as I said, it's not an IQ test, are essential, the basic things, skills. So you actually put in your toolkit to make your life successful.

Jon: Awesome. So we're close to the end of the show. I want to thank you, Paul, for your time this evening. It was absolutely fantastic, great chatting with you. And I'm sure our listeners have learned a lot from your experiences. And you're sharing this evening. Where can our listeners find out more about your work, Paul?

Paul: My website which encompasses what we've got that we're doing in the car and truck rental business, what we've got accommodation, and what we're doing in the charitable area there, obviously, and also what we're doing in some of your vehicles, because we've got a large fleet, so we have to move those on. So there's a fair bit of information there. LinkedIn, of course, is a great source, of information for anyone, Doctor Google's out there. It's handy when you've got a name that's not as well known as others. You know, if you're going to Google Paul, we often you're only going to find me because I don't think there's another one in the world called Paul Wheelton. What will be there will be me.

Jon: So that's a unique brand. Wilton says that even from personal branding and reputation for you, that's unique as well, especially if no one else has got that. So what I want to do is thank you all. For this evening, I want to specifically let you know that you can all find me on social media. You can follow me on Twitter at jon_michael or LinkedIn as Jon Michael and on Facebook as Image Group International. I hope you have enjoyed this episode and we have given you some practical insights. If you need my help to elevate your personal brand and reputation please email me and we'll be happy to work with you. The email mine and Paul, as per this episode will be at the description. And also don't forget to subscribe to the podcast and the platform that you're listening to. So every time we have a new episode you will be notified. And if you liked this episode, please remember to share it with your friends, family and colleagues. I would appreciate it if you could write the show also on Apple podcasts. For this, you just need to click on the link in the episode description. Thank you all. I look forward to chatting again with you next week and have a great week, cheers.

Jon Michail’s Personal Branding Masterclass" Podcast is sponsored by Image Group International, a global team of practical, digitally savvy personal brand and image strategists, based in Australia, committed to maximizing your impact, influence and authority in the business world.   To learn more and apply for your personal coaching, seminars and group workshops please visit or call 1800 631 311.