Vivian Wu, Global Head of Indirect Procurement, Revlon, discussed the importance of building credibility and the impact of credibility on all stakeholders within an organization during her keynote address to Argyle’s CHRO membership at the 2016 Leadership in Supply Chain Management and Procurement Forum in New York on Nov. 16. In her presentation, “The Nuts and Bolts of Building Credibility,” Wu explained how organizational leaders can enhance an organization’s credibility.
To define credibility, Wu used the Greek mythology story of Apollo and Cassandra.
In the story, Apollo agreed to give Cassandra the gift of prophecy if she married him. However, Cassandra failed to marry him and Apollo cursed Cassandra, preventing anyone from believing her.
Thus, Apollo removed Cassandra’s credibility, and the damage proved to be substantial. No one would believe Cassandra when she provided warnings about the Trojan War, which ultimately led to the destruction of Troy.
There are many business lessons that organizational leaders can learn from the story of Apollo and Cassandra.
First, Wu pointed out the story shows the importance of credibility in everyday life. If an individual lacks credibility, he or she is unlikely to generate trust from his or her peers.
“Don’t be Cassandra,” Wu stated. “Imagine the life of Cassandra where you can see the future but no one listens to you. You have a great strategic sourcing plan ahead of you, but no one wants to be part of it. It would be a maddening agony.”
Wu also noted that “obvious credibility” is key, and doing what you say you will do can make a world of difference for organizational leaders.
“If you don’t show your capability and if you don’t show your expertise, no one will follow you.”
In many instances, organizational leaders may be tempted to make big promises that they fail to keep. If organizational leaders can set realistic expectations and work to achieve day-to-day goals, these leaders may be better equipped to build credibility than others.
“Obvious credibility is something we have to own. It takes time, patience and consistency to build credibility,” Wu said.
How organizational leaders foster credibility throughout an organization can play an important role in an organization’s long-term success as well.
If organizational leaders go above and beyond the call of duty to assist others, they will be able to generate trust from managers and employees across all levels. On the other hand, if organizational leaders fail to devote the time and resources needed to build credibility, an organization could struggle to achieve its goals both now and in the future.
“Your own credibility goes farthest when you’re trying to help others,” Wu noted.
Building credibility requires organizational leaders to focus on fostering trust and expertise throughout an organization.
Without trust, it will become extremely difficult for organizational leaders to get buy-in from C-suite executives and entry-level employees alike.
“Trust is the foundation [of credibility]. Without trust, you’re not going to be able to believe,” Wu said.
Furthermore, organizational leaders must possess the skills and know-how needed to perform day-to-day tasks. By doing so, these leaders can show others that they are committed to helping an organization accomplish its goals.
“Trust is the foundation [of credibility]. Without trust, you’re not going to be able to believe.”
Organizational leaders can improve their chances of building credibility with others if they share their expertise with others. These leaders will be able to teach others how to become more productive and efficient, build their credibility and thrive as successful leaders.
“If you don’t show your capability and if you don’t show your expertise, no one will follow you,” Wu said.
Communication remains essential for organizational leaders who want to help an organization reach new heights.
If organizational leaders provide open forums where workers can discuss problems and share their thoughts and opinions, these leaders can build credibility with an entire workforce. These leaders may be better equipped to attract and retain top talent too, particularly if an organization does everything it can to build trust with employees.
Organizational leaders must be able to define their day-to-day goals and provide details about how these aspirations relate to an organization’s values.
“We must move from tactical procurement to strategic sourcing,” she stated. “We need to tie our capacity and the deliverables to old world business values.”
Having the ability to drive credibility throughout an organization may seem impossible at times. Conversely, organizational leaders will need to take a long-term approach to ensure an organization builds credibility at all levels.
If an organization builds credibility within all levels, it can improve its chances of becoming a credible brand to consumers. Therefore, this organization may be able to garner interest from both consumers and employees and reap the benefits of being a credible organization day after day.