Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Building Credibility

Trustworthiness, reliability, dependability, integrity, reputation - are not just BIG words. They encapsulate the whole world in them.

It is important for us as entrepreneurs to understand the importance of personal and professional credibility built at workplace. Apart from the fact that our external customers should trust us, it is very important for our internal customers to believe in us.

Let me share an interesting story about one of my bosses. I was the state head and was reporting to the zonal head in the new company. After a long stint at Amul, I had taken up the challenge of joining a cosmetics company. For me, it was a dream come true. I had an exciting day, meeting important stakeholders. I got a call at about 6.55 pm, and on the other side, was she. She asked how my first day has been so far and gave me an assignment to prepare an urgent report on distributors points for a Company sponsored Dubai trip. My first day, I barely knew about the company’s distributors, members in the team, leave alone the points accumulated by them. There was no software which would give me that kind of details at the click of a button. She asked me to sit for an extra half hour, with the team and furnish the report before I left the office. I was flabbergasted.
Sitting in my glass cabin at 8.30 pm, I was still pulling my hair out, as to what needs to be done to complete this report. I very meticulously prepared the report in a detailed fashion, finally managed to send it around 9.30 pm. I was proud of myself!

Over the period of next week, I realized that, the report wasn’t that critical and was not shared with the seniors until the beginning of the third week. I was dumb struck.
Similar request came to me in the next week as well, which took the whole team to stay around 3 extra hours in the office. That report also met a similar fate.

This reminded me of the way the boy in the shepherd and wolf story kept on shouting wolf! wolf! Without the wolf being there, and the villagers realized that he’s lying …

In the coming times, I realized that it’s the habit of the boss to pressurize for things. Not only that, she pressurized me to make people slog after work hours unnecessarily, due to which there was growing discontentment in the team. So, from then on, whenever she asked for something to be done urgently, I would prepare a rough estimated report and send to her, so that she is satisfied and eventually improvise the report in the coming times.

 Modern relevance of the shepherd and wolf story is that people have stopped honoring and respecting the request from seniors by not putting their best foot forward. How many of us are able to relate to this ?

The outcome of this was that at one instance – there was a genuine urgency for a report – but the team took it casually and didn’t put the best of their efforts. This backfired and she had to take the beating from her bosses.
So I am able to relate more to Ramu’s situation when:

Ramu could not keep the wolf off the sheep all by himself. The wolf killed many of Ramu’s sheep. Ramu went back to his home weeping.

While I was excited about this job, along with handling the atrocities of my manager, I decided to strengthen the distribution system. My prime focus was to set an example of hard work and perseverance so that the team could follow it. I walked my talk and went to the market with my distributors to sell with them. In the process I built a very good rapport of trust with them. This helped in providing consistent services to the end customers hence improving the business drastically.

The way, In the story of the turtle and hare, the perseverance of the turtle paid off, similarly, in the external world, building credibility is a sustained activity. After all Slow and steady wins the race!!

To sum it up, we need to ensure that our internal team trusts us, believes in us and so do our customers. It is only then, that long lasting enterprises are built.

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