Credibility is like a balloon. A single prick and it’s burst; meaning that you have to start all over again, re-establishing your image (or that of your business) in its best light and as others see you. The only difference is, that unlike a ‘ten-a-penny’ balloon, it will take months, or even years, to get back to where you were before you blew it. Also, when you originally began developing your credibility, from those early days in business, you were doing so from the ground up. This time, with an unfortunate occurrence associated to you, you are starting below ground level, with negative equity. The saying, ‘digging a hole for yourself’ very much comes to mind here. It can take a career’s worth of time and effort to get back to where you were. Do you have enough time?
So in a business context what does credibility actually mean, and how does this translate into everyday controllable behaviours? You could ask that question to a dozen different people and you would get a dozen answers. Well, thankfully, there is only one of me, so I will give you my thoughts about the matter. It can mean so many things all wrapped up in the entirety that makes a person (or a business) who they are. For example; why we trust them, and why we like doing business with them.
So let’s now consider some of the core ingredients as to what, in my opinion, demonstrates strong credibility:
Acting with integrity,
Being trustworthy, sincere and respectful to others,
Sticking to your promises (i.e. doing what you said you will do),
Behaving ethically, and acting legally,
Knowing that if something doesn’t feel right; not to do it (even if you will be disadvantaged in doing so),
Putting yourself in the frame, and accepting responsibility for your own actions (good or bad),
Ensuring that everyone involved in the process is acknowledged,
Paying your debts, and doing so on time,
Saying what needs to be said, even if it’s not popular.
In the world of business; yes, we need to be commercially smart, and to push things to the edge at times, in order to get a result or be successful. But the important thing to always remember is that ‘the edge’ is there for a reason. Beyond it lies a bed of nails, just waiting to announce a BIG BANG to all around you. Know where your edge is, know why your credibility is worth so much more to you than winning an argument, or a bit of business, or persuading someone to do something that isn’t in their best interest. You may very well win the day, but in the long run it will cost you. Don’t risk it – it really isn’t worth it. And, there is no room for picking and choosing when to be credible or not. You either are credible, or you aren’t.
There is an expression that often gets used in the world of business. It’s a good one, and one you should always judge your own actions and the actions of those around you by. ‘Credibility Is King.’