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Stop Killing Your Credibility: 3 Tips

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Stop Killing Your Credibility: 3 Tips

Post by Sam on Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:30 am

I'm sure you have either heard or said at one time or
another the phrase, "Do as I say, not as I do." The
phrase is so overused, in fact, that people generally
consider it to be cliché. Folks badger their kids with it and toss it out as advice to their friends. But in
business this attitude can have lasting negative
effects on credibility. It's possible, even when you are trying extra hard not
to, to undermine your own credibility in the work
environment. Sometimes it's by saying stupid things
before you carefully think through the repercussions
of the idea and statement. But the biggest single cut to your credibility is hypocrisy. I witness so many daily incidents. Here are just a few of my most recent occurrences that
inspired this column. (No names in print of course,
but buy me a drink if you want the whole story.) A well-known blogger/expert on trust and
authenticity indignantly said he requires $10,000
in order to post about a book or product.
An attorney who sits on the board of a women's
legal-rights, non-profit, greedily burned through $
5,000 of a nearly broke, soon to be divorcee's retainer before ever doing any due diligence.
I listened to the proselytizing from the CEO of a
prominent search engine optimization (SEO) firm,
which aggressively emails and charges high fees
for SEO work, when ironically their own listing
doesn't show up in the first five pages of Google search under any prominent search terms in the
space.
I experienced the wrath of a communications
expert who created more conflict than resolution
by not following the very communication advice
she shares in her work and writing. A marketer approached me railing about how
companies need her because their marketing is
substandard, and upon further investigation, her
website and blog hadn't been updated in over
three years. These are of course big, blatant cases of hypocrisy,
but how often do we chip away at our credibility by
making claims in our core values and marketing
slogans that really don't represent the way we
actually function in our business. Sometimes the
circumstances justify the small deviation from our credo for comfort, but no one ever said consistency
would be easy. That's why credibility is hard to gain
and easy to lose. Clients won't tell you that you've lost their trust, they
will just stop coming to you. In truth, competitors
focus sales people and marketers on exploiting the
loss of credibility, and there's really no need to help
them steal your customers and opportunities due to
avoidable circumstances. Here are three ways you can build and maintain your
credibility for the long haul. 1. Stop speaking in "absolutes" The older I get the more I realize that there are few
things in life that are definitive. I admire passion but
people who say words like all, every, always,
definitely and absolutely, trigger my strongest B.S. sensors. The people that have the most credibility with me are learners. They are open to possibility.
The danger with stating an absolute is that it only
takes one anomaly to prove you wrong, ignorant or
worse, a liar. Modifiers like almost, nearly, mostly will
leave you the openings and show that you give
consideration to the outliers that almost always exist. 2. Share more of what you see, and less of what
you know The more knowledge I gain, the more I realize how
little I know. What I've gained through decades of
experience is the ability to identify and interpret
patterns. I don't always interpret them correctly, but I
provide more value to my clients and peers as
another set of eyes and ears rather than a feeble library that can't compare with Wikipedia or even the Complete MBA For Dummies. The world is constantly changing and while historians are valuable and
important, observers along the path are much more
desirable guides to lead the way to the future. 3. Practice what you preach-even if it hurts One of my core values is consistency and honestly it
is often a battle to use all my tools and follow all my
column's advice. But that's the path I chose. I
committed to being a leader in marketing, humor, video and pursuing the awesome experience. If I don't believe what I say then I should simply not say
it and if I do believe it, there is no good reason not to
do it. I respect that there are many who find a comfortable
path for owning their reputation that's really more of
a gray scale then simple black and white. True, one
small slip up probably won't cost me a client or even
a reader but it doesn't take much inconsistency to
make me a liar and a fraud in my own mind. I probably couldn't live that life. (My Jewish guilt would
be overwhelming.) So I embark daily on what Jim
Collins refers to as Fanatic Discipline. For I believe a consistent reputation and strong credibility are truly
what help me increase my opportunities and chances
for success. Perhaps it's the same for you. In any
case you are welcome to point out my
transgressions. I am committed to practicing what I preach

Sam
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