credible: worthy of belief or confidence; trustworthy – Dictionary.com
Having moved, I needed to find a new family doctor. Odds are you, like myself, did not look for the nearest doctor in the telephone directory. Instead, you asked your trusted family doctor or asked a trusted friend for a recommendation. In both cases, you are really seeking credibility. Your doctor should exhibit confidence in diagnosing the ailment and providing a comprehensive solution. You find him trustworthy from his education, patient track record, and conviction.
Businesses also have to be credible, unless you seek the fame and (un)fortune of Enron or Lehman Brothers. Financial institutions look for a profitable future and strong balance sheet. Communities look for businesses to be a responsible and ethical steward. Customers look for value and shared interest. Employees look for stability and a future. Each message of trustworthiness has to be periodically communicated in the form of annual reports, pr press releases, warranties, paychecks, etc. Communication is necessary but what most are seeking is conversation.
Are you listening, facilitating, or creating conversations with your customers, suppliers, competition, and employees? Whether it is public sentiment, technology, or some other invisible hand, companies are being forced to offer more transparency, honesty, and conversation. We, the stakeholders, want to be in the inner circle. We want to know that your practices are not going to cause once-in-a-lifetime global financial crisis, regional ecological disasters, or city wide depressions.
Luckily there are more ways to listen, evaluate, and engage, in the conversation than ever before. Are you listening yet?
photo credit: Eva Blue