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Connections Blog

Sharing ideas and opinions about content, communication, and connections...what's important to relationship-building

Credibility = Do What You Say

I have a pet peeve. People who don’t do what they promise really get me worked up. To me, the very essence of credibility is simply delivering on your promises every time. I live by this principle. Credibility and reputation follow me everywhere I go.

I teach my daughter the same principle. It is hard to influence a 13-year old who already thinks she knows everything. At this age, they tend to have a selective memory. For things that least interest her she often makes promises that she conveniently forgets. It’s important to learn responsibility and accountability early because these traits will pay off later in life.

Surprisingly, in today’s workforce, we have a lot of 13-year old young-at-hearts. Over the years I have had to let people go for consistently over-promising and under-delivering. I tolerated many more folks who only made a habit of occasional misses. Mentoring and coaching plays a role in helping people understand the importance of credibility, but there is little remedy for those who don’t see the lack of it as an issue.

I live in the technology marketing world most days. In this world we often can’t control promoting a technology that has bugs or isn’t intuitive. What we can control is being responsive to incoming requests and delivering quality results by deadlines.

Last week, our team received a web inquiry from a technology firm in New York. The sender, a director of marketing, wrote that she would like to chat with us about helping them with lead generation. I researched the firm. I replied to her email within hours and thanked her for reaching out. I asked if there would be a convenient time in the next few days for me to give her a call. She suggested a day and time. I called. She picked up the phone and said “Can we talk at another time? I have people in my office”. Okay, weird but I understand. We proceeded to select another day and time on the phone. She confirmed without any hesitation. I sent her a follow up calendar request. She accepted. I called. She was a no show. I left a voicemail. I followed up with an email. No response. Just to make sure she was ok, I searched her up on social media and to my ultimate relief, she seemed very much alive. At this point I wrote her and her company off. I have no interest in doing business with someone who is unreliable. What happens if their company’s name comes up in a future conversation? I would relate this story, which would no doubt influence someone else’s perception of the company.

I have many more examples but I think I have made my point. Here are four pieces of practical advice that I gave to my daughter about building credibility:

  • Take your time and think about how realistic your promises are before you make them.
  • Do what you said you would do. Preferably more but never less.
  • If you don’t think you’ll be able to keep your commitment, let people know and offer another solution.
  • You can always negotiate what you can or cannot do but once you agree, take it seriously.

I am hopeful that my 13-year old will eventually practice what I preach. The social media world where she is living in monetizes on credibility. The power of negative press can consume you as an individual and the entity you represent. There is no need to panic. You don’t need years of experience or a unique set of skills to be credible. You just have to do what you said you would do.

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