What’s your most prized possession? When you ask that question to a group of people you get some very interesting answers. You also get a lot of different answers, some very personal answers.
You also discover that very few people say credibility. It’s not that they don’t value credibility, it’s just that most of us don’t think of credibility in terms of something we possess. Credibility is just something that exists, it’s just sort of there. We know it’s important, we want to be seen as credible, we want the people around us to be credible, we simply value credibility.
So we say.
But then we go out and do things that destroy our credibility. We say one thing and do another. We criticize someone for doing something as we’re doing the exact same thing. We behave or speak in a manner that we know is wrong, at least we know it’s wrong when somebody else does it.
We say credibility matters but often act as if it doesn’t.
There are literally a million ways for us to negatively impact our credibility but I’m going to focus on one because it’s so pervasive, maybe not as much as it used to be but I’d still bet it’s the number one destroyer of credibility today, especially in business circles.
It’s drinking while working. (DWW) Let me define drinking while “working.” If you’re with customers, co-workers, at an “after-hours” work function, or just somewhere people you work with or for might be, you’re working. If you’re out in public wearing a shirt or jacket with your company’s logo on it, you’re working. If you’re sitting in an airport with your backpack next to you and your backpack has your business card attached to it, you’re working. I could go on but I think you get the idea, “working” goes way beyond sitting behind your desk at 3:00 in the afternoon.
If you believe for a minute that you can go out and get completely wasted with a group of your business associates or customers and not damage your credibility with them you are completely and totally wrong.
Credibility does not just exist, it is built and re-built everyday. The things, all things, that we say and do matter, they all count. Every single thing you say and do either adds to or subtracts from your credibility. I wish that wasn’t true but it is.
We can’t live 100% of the time being “careful” with what we say and do to protect our credibility. We are human beings, prone to doing and saying dumb stuff from time to time. Those dumb things will sometimes harm our credibility and no matter how hard we try to avoid them, they will happen.
Which makes DWW all the worse, it is a choice, at least it is for the vast majority of people. If the waiter came over at asked “what would you like to destroy your credibility tonight?” we might think twice before ordering. Unfortunately, they say, “what would you like to drink?”
Just how much is your credibility worth? One beer? Two or three? Maybe you’re a very credible person and yours is worth 10 or 12…. oh wait, it doesn’t work that way.
The more you drink while working the less credible you will be, if you want to argue that point go ahead and order another, it’s only your credibility.