In my travels recently, I have realized what I learned a long time ago but never wanted to believe. Perception is reality. As I worked for a large company 10 or so years ago, I was laid off, fired if you will, being told that I was not a hard worker and that I did not get my work done on time. Interestingly enough, I was the one guy on the team that had an "AA QBR rating for a year and a half with one of our largest customers, and that rating helped grow our business substantially. Being very shocked by the news, and asking how this was possible, and proving my work to them in the "release meeting", I was told something, to my face, I will never forget. "Jeremy" she started off, perception is reality, and I perceive this and that is the way it is". Off I went, no severance, not prospects for work and a long drive home. Needless to day, as soon as I was let go, was about as fast as the three largest customers left our facility. All in direct relation to me being let go. Finding a new job after that was easy. Look for the company that wanted the business that would follow me. Perception for that manager of mine became very real as well very fast.
Sometimes it is not what we think it is, but what others determine it is. Hard work is one key factor in business, but so are relationships. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer is about as real as it comes these days. In an article I read recently, I found perception defined in a few way, but I really enjoy how this authors puts his spin on this and direction on perception vs. reality. http://www.inc.com/fred-laluyaux/perception-vs-reality-do-you-know-what-your-real-company-culture-is.html. A good read to help the career and your company.