Credibility, in its’ simplest definition, is believability, or the ability to “instill” belief in a person, organization or concept. It also leads one to believe that a credible person is dependable. We have many examples of this in our personal lives. An example could be your dry cleaner – “24 hour service…..shirts in by 8AM this morning… back by the next day.” It’s also as simple as people being on time, items delivered as promised. UPS and FedEx are perfect examples of credibility. They deliver as promised. There are many people in our lives that are perceived as credible. Examples can be politicians, business leaders, sales professionals, physicians, men of the cloth and others. But we have seen many examples where we felt betrayed and surprised when one of our “credible” people ended up to be less than “honest”! Business leaders are in jail, some are standing trial, dishonest politicians and possibly friends that were exposed in a less than honest situation. Does that mean that mean that they were not credible? NO, to the contrary, they were credible but the lack of honesty destroyed their believability in an instant. Let’s look at the difference between credibility and integrity.
Integrity is honesty. That’s the difference. A person or organization with integrity always conducts himself in an honest way. They are your perfect partners in your business and personal life. We have all heard about the “snake oil salesmen”. They come into town with credibility. They were believable. They instilled belief. But they sold ointments and elixirs that were bogus. But people bought from them. WHY? They were credible. When the snake oil salesman left town, the people found that the magic potion was worthless. His credibility vanished. WHY? He had no integrity …..no honesty.
A person with integrity is not always credible. I know many honest people that I can’t always depend on. They are not bad. They just forget things, aren’t on time or don’t follow through. But, they are people of integrity. Have I confused you yet? You are probably wondering where I am going with this…… Okay, the perfect recipe is to do business with people and organizations that are full of credibility and integrity. You can depend on these people and you will always know that what they do or say will be honest. The big difference between credibility and integrity is as follows: I believe that you are born with integrity and you fight to keep on the right, or honest side of all endeavors. credibility, on the other hand, is something that you must earn.
It, in some cases, takes years to finally acquire and to be known as the “go to person” …..The dependable one. But, regardless of how long it took to attain that stature, it can all disappear in an instant. It takes a great deal of work and attention to detail to remain credible. It takes following “the Golden Rule” to maintain integrity. So, my final bit of “preaching” would be,
- Don’t make promises that you can’t keep.
- Treat people with the same dignity and respect that you would want if the tables were reversed. And finally,
- Strive to always do what’s right.
Not a fancy business plan, but these are the reasons people do business with us and why people want to be our friends. SERVICE, CREDIBILITY, INTEGRITY and PROFITABILITY (SCIP™) – it’s got to be there for everybody!
Until Next Time ... Good Selling!
Raymond J. Ohlson, CLU, CRC
President and CEO
The Ohlson Group & SMP International LLC