4 ways to bridge the credibility gap

The meaning of soul

Credibility may appear to be a nebulous notion, but when you’ve lost it, people know!

Noel Gallagher, formerly of rock band Oasis, doesn’t often mince his words, and as such could be a worthwhile source for defining it:

“On credibility? Jack White has done a song for Coca-Cola. End of. He ceases to be in the club. And he looks like Zorro on doughnuts.”

The witty insults tend to follow affront – but personal slights aside, it’s clear that while Gallagher once saw White as a champion of alternative thinking, selling out to a corporate giant like Coke was not congruent with cool in his view.

Ergo, credibility shot!

Avoiding the credibility gap

I was musing this week that while credibility is built slowly over time, in the spirit of the overused Buffett quote there are many more ways to lose it in a hurry.

As someone that writes reports I know that if any of the information I included was found to be deliberately false then any previously earned authority would be wiped away in a second.

Similarly, if commentary has an underlying agenda and is always trying to ‘spin’ a certain theme, then it relatively quickly loses plausibility.

If you genuinely lack ability in any given field then it’s naturally more difficult to be taken seriously, which is a third way to erode credibility.

And finally, if you have a track record of delivering blunders or howlers, then it can be pretty darned tough to recover from that.

We’re all human, and nobody gets things right all of the time, but regularly stuffing up big time is unlikely to be an effective means of building trust.

Voilá, the credibility matrix!

4 pillars for building cred

With that potentially sobering shortlist covered off, here’s the brighter news: you can build credibility in your career or business in 4 ways, with due apologies for the alliterative list trope:

(i) Congruence – consistently demonstrating trustworthiness, honesty, and integrity;

(ii) Caring, character, & core intent – the easiest way to let people know your intent is to declare it – what do you set out to achieve? Genuinely caring about delivering the goods matters too;

(iii) Capability – to perform with sustained excellence, continually improve and develop your knowledge, skills, abilities, & capacities; and

(iv) Consistency – anyone might have the odd win here or there, but what really builds reputation like nothing else is a metronomic consistency of results – day in, day out.

If you remember these 4 Cs of credibility you can earn respect and authority over time, instead of being a one hit wonder.

And remember to mind the credibility gap!