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.