Creating credibility in today’s world

Let’s get right to the point.  To establish credibility you have to create successes.

There is nothing like having a track record of successes to validate one’s credibility. It is ultimately what we are all going to be judged on.

Look around and think about this for a moment. Of all the managers you have worked with or currently work with, who are the ones who have credibility in your mind?

It’s the people who have had successes and can get things done – right?

Of course it is, , ,  and I can assure you that whether you ask a client, senior management, or an employee you will get the same answer in almost all cases. You might find a case or two where someone votes for the manager with the winning personality, but more often it’s going to be based on who can get things done and do it in a positive way.

Credibility is not established by “hitting home runs”. It is something that is earned over time. We have all seen the “flash in the pan” manager who comes in, does something wonderful, and then just can’t seem to get things done.  These people impress others quickly but soon fade from the scene of credible managers.

It’s one thing to have a single success; it’s something different and far more important to have “sustained successes”.

Credibility emanates from consistency and doing the little things well. Again, you don’t have to hit a home run to establish your credibility. Start with small successes and work your way up to the “big hit” opportunities. What’s more important is the consistency of your success and that you succeed more often than you fail.

Failing is a matter of life. If you don’t have a failure here or there, then you aren’t trying to do very much. For example, you can guarantee zero errors in a programming support environment, , , but to do that, you have to either eliminate new changes from being worked on or put such a strenuous quality review process in place that your productivity will be unacceptable. We have to strike balance.

The key is to sustain a track record of successes. That doesn’t mean zero failures. That said, it’s important to avoid “disastrous” and “dumb” mistakes.

The cornerstone of success
Managing projects successfully is a critical part of any IT manager’s success. When your team exhibits the ability to deliver projects on time and on budget, you join the minority of the IT managers who achieve this. Many studies suggest that over 70% of all technology projects either fail to be delivered on time or exceed budget.

Believe me, deliver projects on time and within budget and your credibility will grow quickly because you will be viewed totally different than other IT managers who fail most of the time.

What this means is that you need to implement a project management culture within your organization and for your clients. Quantifying the deliverable and scope up front, gaining agreement, and building realistic plans are critical, , , not optional.

Don’t miss this point. Predictable delivery of your projects is essential if you want to be credible. It’s so important that I wrote an entire book titled IT Project Management: a practical approach. In my 5-day IT Manager Institute, I spend an entire half day on the topic of project management and the importance it has on your success and career. Project management is only one aspect of managing technology resources effectively, but it is a key part and the “cornerstone” for your success.

You need credibility in several areas
To be successful, establishing credibility takes many forms. You need to be credible with clients, senior management, and your employees to achieve real success. Managers who can win over senior management for a time but are not credible with clients and/or employees ultimately lose favor from their senior management supporters.

First, create credibility with your customer. At the end of the day, this is the key piece of what you have to have to be credible. Clients have to trust you and know that they can depend upon your IT organization to support their efforts.

Second, create credibility with your employees. It won’t be you the manager who delivers the products and services that the client uses to conduct business. It’s going to be your employees. When they succeed, you will succeed. It can’t work for a sustained amount of time the other way around.

Third, create credibility with senior management. When clients and employees believe in you and trust you, senior management will follow. Another thing that builds credibility with senior management is when you look at the technology support world in more of a business perspective.

Prioritizing and focusing your technology team’s initiatives on issues that make a tangible difference for the company will endear you to your CEO, CFO, and other senior executives. Typically, they want to see cost savings, new revenue opportunities, or productivity improvements from technology initiatives.

Little things make big differences
The manner in which you go about managing people, issues, and processes on a day to day basis creates a persona about you as a manager. Little things go a long way in helping others trust you and trust is an essential foundation in establishing a credible reputation among your colleagues.

Here are some key things to remember:

  • People trust people who do what they say they will do.Senior managers admire people who can turn difficult situations into positive ones.
  • Clients respect people who are straightforward and manage their expectations well.
  • Following up on commitments gains allies in all areas of your business.
  • Giving your staff credit for successes and taking responsibility for failures builds tremendous staff loyalty.
  • Empowering your employees and providing them the tools to be successful creates great trust.

It’s really not all that difficult to establish a level of credibility within your business environment. Start by taking small steps that lead to bigger strides. Build on the small successes and be consistent in how you go about managing people and issues and especially how you treat others in the workplace. You will find that a consistent approach that treats others with respect will have very positive impact.

Remember, the key is to deliver what you say you will deliver and when you say it will be done. Ultimately, this is the acid test of whether you create trust and what makes a person credible.

If people cannot depend on you to do what you say you will do, no matter how good your intentions, you will not have credibility with them. Telling someone you can’t do something or that it takes longer than they want it to happen may not be what they want to hear, but they will gain respect for you when you actually deliver what you say you will.

Establishing and maintaining credibility has a lot to do with managing expectations, so always try to position yourself to “over deliver”.

Best of success in establishing and maintaining the best of credibility in your business and personal environment.

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