Increase Your Visibility to Increase Credibility

Increase Your Visibility to Increase CredibilityCredibility is in the eye of the beholder. It is a level of trust that others attribute to you  because of what they have heard about you – namely reputation and track record- or what they have experienced first hand. When  boiled down to it’s essence, credibility is built upon a person’s  ability to commit, then deliver value to others.

An important element for creating a base of credibility is the need for visibility  in the organization. In 1982 Tom Peters and Robert Waterman described the importance of visibility  in their book,  In Search of Excellence. The authors coined the concept of “MBWA,” management by walking around, to emphasize that effective leadership and visibility go hand in hand. They described the legendary stories about Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, known for making the rounds when visiting an H-P facility and staying into the night to work with a project team and share a pizza.

So what does this mean for you?

Whether you are currently in a leadership position or working as an individual contributor, the need to build and maintain credibility and visibility is an on-going requirement for successful performance.

There are three important considerations for increasing visibility:

1. Move out of your office or cube and into the hallway.

I know you’re busy. You know you’re busy. And the people with whom you must inevitably work with to get results and deal with customers and all the important requirements of the business know you’re busy. However, they are not in your office. They don’t fit in your cube. Saying you have an open door policy is not enough. The point:

Go to them. Listen to them. Find out what’s going on. Find out what’s important. 

Your credibility is an important by-product of this process.

2. Use the trend away from face-to-face interactions to your advantage.

Email, voicemail, and text messages can be great communication structures. They can be credibility enhancers for conveying timely information, following up or recapping discussions. And yet they don’t have the impact that getting face-to-face has to discuss issues, solve problems,  improve relationships, or increase the type of visibility that builds credibility.

Differentiate yourself by being out and about.

While others are rationalizing the use of emails or texts as more efficient ways to communicate, convince, or cajole,  you’re laying the groundwork for more effective relationships and subsequently better outcomes.

3. Don’t let physical proximity be an excuse for lack of visibility.

That’s a double negative way of saying you don’t have to be in close proximity to build a level of visibility with others. The quintessential example is what happens if you are leader or are a member of  a virtual team with people from all over the globe. Getting out of your office and into the appropriate hallway for a particular person could be a 3000 mile journey. That’s a lot of walking.

Change the mindset from physical to inter-personal proximity. Shorten the personal distance.

In these situations:

Think about how to connect on a one-to-one basis  to accomplish the same outcomes you get through face-to-face interactions. 

Outside of routine project meetings, set up a one-on-one conference or Skype calls to discuss ideas, get input, compare perspectives, or discover what’s most important to that person. The proactive step of reaching out and understanding others is mutually beneficial. What you lack in terms of physical proximity can be overcome by shortening personal and emotional distance.

When it comes to building credibility, keep your foot on the  gas peddle and assume nothing.

Credibility is time consuming to build, and instantaneous to destroy. The need for credibility never goes away. It can never be taken for granted. This makes building credibility an on-going requirement for success both in your job and your career. Building credibility is about what is important to others, not what is important to you. This means that part of your job is to understand others. And an important part of this process is your ability to  create and maintain visibility with your team, colleagues, customers, and leadership.

Think “CBWA”- Credibility by Walking Around.

Be out and about.

Appreciate credibility’s importance.

Assume nothing.


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