As it appeared in the Daily Nation on December 12th, 2017
How Credible is your Business? At a recent strategy workshop, we had an interesting discussion on the subject of credibility both in business and at the personal level. While some of the managers felt that it is daunting to establish credibility in business, others felt that they have no choice but to build a credible business. A credible business is one that can be trusted. When a business establishes credibility, customers believe in the products, services and the people. In addition, the staff believe in the business and are confident about what the business stands for. If your business is seeking to establish credibility, here are three insights to show the way.

Credibility in business starts from the inside out. I believe that a major starting point is to define what is important in our businesses. Some of the questions crucial to this definition are – What are our business’ guiding principles? What drives success in our business? What does our business value? Clarity in the underlying value system helps to openly define our businesses; it also helps in guiding everyone’s behaviour. It is not enough to have a list of core values. The values must be well-defined, understood and lived every day and must be a true reflection of what the business considers to be significant.

One of the challenges many business especially our local ones face is mediocrity. We entertain mediocre staff, mediocre products and mediocre services. In some businesses, mediocrity seems to be rewarded. The second consideration therefore is that every business seeking to establish credibility needs to fight mediocrity. In a past interview John Spence author of Awesomely Simple gave to a Forbes contributor, John highlighted that leaders enable mediocrity by “hiring and retaining mediocre employees” and “by not setting clear expectations and standards of performance”. Businesses leaders can fight mediocrity by striving for excellence in everything they do. Businesses that strive for excellence are always trying to do better; they set high standards for themselves; they improve the quality of their staff, products and services on an ongoing basis. By so doing, they build trust from the inside out and become more credible.

Finally, business need to be consistent in doing what is right. Consistency is at the core of establishing credibility in business and at personal level. What we do repeatedly defines our reputation and contributes significantly to our credibility. If we repeatedly offer a poor or good service, that starts to shape us internally and to define us externally. The staff need to be consistent in demonstrating the right attitudes, making the rightful decisions and in taking the desirable actions. Every business that has been able to build credibility has done so over time not by what it says but by what it does consistently.

Smart companies know that they need to build their credibility as if their survival depends on it because it does. If you are a business owner or business leader, what will you do today to build your credibility? What will you start or stop doing to be more credible? Credibility in business cannot be left to chance and it is not about public relations, it is about building a dependable business displayed in daily actions.

A very happy Jamhuri Day to you all our ardent readers.

Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer connect via twitter @KiruthuLucy