Organization Development

Sep 08, 2022 12 min read

Trust Credibility

Author is currently working as Executive Director (Sustainable Development) at Marketing Head Office, IndianOil Corporation Limited

  1. Concepts:

Trust is central part of all human relationships including personal, family, business operations, partnerships, politics and medical practices. Trust starts with truth and ends with truth. It has to be earned, and comes with passage of time. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It is the foundational principle that holds all relationships. In this world, there is nothing scarier than trusting someone. But there is also nothing more rewarding. If we can have 3 persons in our life we can trust upon fully and always, we can consider ourselves luckiest person in the whole world.

Trust is a generally of 2 types such as:

  • Interpersonal trust regarding

    • Our welfare

    • Privileged information

    • Rational commitment

  • Task related trust in someone’s

    • Ability

    • Follow through

Trust is also situational. The same person cannot be trusted in different types of situation e.g. we can join somebody for dinner or seek personal help but cannot trust his driving skills, a surgeon can be trusted for a medical procedure of loved one but may not be a friend for time pass, trusting an unknown pilot is fine while flying but he/ she can’t be trusted on personal matters.

Credibility is, in a way, a higher bar than success. It means others looking at you as a reliable resource and decision maker. It comprises objective and subjective components of believing a source or a message. Credibility comes from results, everything else is just marketing. Accuracy builds credibility and credibility is a basic survival tool. Credibility is our best currency, with it we are solvent, without we are bankrupt. Credibility has 2 key components- Trustworthiness and Expertise.

  1. Trust and Credibility – Interplay:

Trust is a set of behaviors, such as acting in ways that depend on one another. It is a belief in a probability that a person will behave in certain ways. Trust is an abstract mental attitude towards a proposition that someone is dependable. It is a feeling of confidence and security that a partner cares. Mistrusting someone is not only a prediction of betrayal but also a bad emotional feeling about a untrustworthy person. Credibility online has become an important topic since mid 90s. The credibility and digital media projects highlight recent and ongoing work in this area including the recent consideration of digital media transformation. Some of the common relevance of credibility can be seen in areas such as journalism, academics, medicines, web, mobile app, social media and business leadership.

Mathematically trust can be depicted as under:

Trust = (Credibility + Reliability + Integrity) / Self Orientation

More and more of self-centeredness could mar our eligibility of being a trustworthy person even when we possess good score on creditability, reliability and integrity. There are many individual players in corporate world who are otherwise are reliable & excellent performers but fail as a leader and team.

Credibility is crucial to creation and sustainability of human network. Since human beings operate every business that hinges on buying and selling, credibility automatically assumes centrality in growth of business operations. The business operator must invest substantial efforts to win the credibility and confidence of its clients, customers, suppliers and investors. The enterprises, in a small and medium sized businesses, can gain wings if it chooses to uphold the importance of credibility in its operations. The attributes such as investing trust, reciprocity and respect in dealings in every part of value chain can help win new customers through word of mouth customer’s testimonials and create significant scope for repeat orders.

Building trust is extremely important in relationship and success. We need to build credible balance in trust bank account. Trust deposits are built through courtesy, kindness, honesty, sincerity and keeping commitments. The deposits are improved through following actions:

  • Understand the other person

  • Attending to little details

  • Keep commitment

  • Clarifying expectations

  • Show personal integrity

  • Apologize sincerely

  1. Demographics and Transformation

Generally we are outcome of our background, growing up, education, parenting and environment around in early stage of life. The emotions, feelings and dealings at a very early stage of life also play a key role in the way we look at things later in life. There is nothing right or wrong of our demographics and our transaction analysis as it is all beyond the control of the person and more of a given situation. Still if one is aware of his/ her shortcomings or vulnerabilities, transformation is possible with commitment, hard work and taking right support (academically as well as environmentally). There are many examples of establishing credibility and brand building at later stage through perseverance willing awareness and firm intervention. One would need to agree to work on each of his/ her known problem areas, if any, to succeed in life and work and be happy.

  1. Success stories: examples

N numbers of examples are there in field of trust and credibility as superior personal brand in India and abroad. Some of these are Swami Vivekanad, Mahatma Gandhi, Atal Bihari Vajpaye, APJ Abdul Kalam, Mother Teresa, Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh Bachhan, Bill Gates, Al Gore, Narayan Murthy etc. They have worked very hard on their value system, virtues and serve communities and institutions at large beyond their personal self.

  1. Business relevance

Trust in business is developed over time by both smaller and big actions. There are 8 Cs (pillars) to build credibility in business e.g. clarity, compassion, character, competency, commitment, connection, contribution, consistency. Building trust in business has following merits:

  • Better morale among employees

  • A sense of empowerment and responsibility

  • Increased productivity

  • Better work as team

  • Faster decision making

  • Cost reduction due to enhanced faith

Every business organization should develop certain attributes, such as market credibility, investors trust, supplier’s confidence, sound reputation and happy customers. Crucially, credibility is linked to certain very human attributes such as honesty, integrity, clarity of purpose, transparency in dealings among others. Being credible means fostering a set of specific qualities – no matter what our role, our organization or our industry. If we are serious about establishing ourselves credible, we must work towards becoming the following;

  • Trustworthy

  • Competent

  • Consistent

  • Genuine

  • Sincere

  • Respectful

  • Accountable

  • Loyal

  • Honest

  • Principled

Trust and cost have inverse relationship in any institution. As we don’t trusts vendors, lot of unnecessary uncertainties and obligations not required are included in a tender adding an avoidable extra cost into the contract. Lack of self confidence and trust on our own capabilities lead to in fructuous expenditure and asset creation. Hierarchical mistrust and that among business partners result in avoidable checks and balances and too much auditing. All these could be counterproductive and add to avoidable costs, time overrun and loss of lucrative opportunities.

There is a natural connection between the CEO and the organization. CEO credibility affects how employees view organization image. Those who perceive the CEO as more qualified, competent, knowledgeable, expert and skillful tend to view the organizational reputation more positively. Employees who view the CEO as more honest and trustworthy are more likely to view the organization in a positive manner. CEO’s credibility is made up of 2 factors – knowing what one is talking about (expertise) and being able to be trusted upon (trustworthiness). The extent to which the employee gives confidence to CEO determines his trustworthiness. His expertise is measured by the way employees perceive him and can go to him for knowledge and help.


  1. Virtues and values – Laying foundation

Soul has 7 original virtues namely knowledge, purity, peace, love, bliss, happiness & power. With passage of time, ignorance and at times environmental pressures, we tend to lose some or all of these and land up in vices such as e.g. kam (desire), krodh (anger), lobh (greed), moh (attachment), ahankar (ego) and also other wasteful traits such as fear, acrimony, jealousy, hatred, taunt, comparison. There is a need to seriously work on each of these virtues to stay away from vices and wastes. For example knowledge enhancement can remove ego, bliss can remove greed and love the attachment. Having worked on each of the virtues and acted against each of the vices, one can built superior values which could go a long way in building trust, credibility and personal brand. Some of the values that could be possessed in the process are dependability, reliability, loyalty, consistency, open mindedness, honesty, and efficiency.

  1. Reach beyond reach

Fairness of dealing, transparent handling and ethics in relationship with open door policy can help built very congenial and trustworthy business environment in any organization. Mental stability, maturity of actions, dependable conduct and bias for values can act as credible glue to the overall atmosphere. Transparent dealings with respect to role clarity, job assignments, appraisals, elevations and postings add to conducive work environment and enhanced productivity due to elimination of mistrust. Rising to difficult occasions and investing time and resources in exigency can help built trust for lifetime resides building a strong brand.

Trust chemistry emanates from mind proxim that deals with seeking/ rendering personal space. When we see anyone for the first time, he is in our public space. With passage of time and increased interaction, proximity travels inward from public to social, to personal, and then to intimate space. Continuous withdrawals with a person lead to distancing on the reverse order. The trust built-up of and also dissipation goes with mental and physical proximity and distancing respectively. Trust goes deep inside the intimate space when things are good and it generates creativity, opening up and freedom in our relationships.

Trusting someone and being trustworthy are mutually inclusive aspects of life & work. One, who can trust himself, can only trust his people and others. He will also risk trusting unknowns. Being trustworthy needs consistency, reliability and integrity visibly in our actions and conduct. We would need to be clearly understood, influence-able and highly dependable to be credible and trustworthy, come what may. Mental toughness and stout physique with stability in our conduct even in difficult circumstances can help cement our public image of being a trustworthy person.

To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved. The elements of trust are intent, character, transparency, competency/ capacity and reliability/ consistency. The trust involves risks and consequences which depend on actions of other person. We trust when we are confident that other person will behave so that there are beneficial consequences. Disclosing something personal with a person may improve trust but it has high risks if information is misused. To trust and be trustworthy, we need to feel physically and emotionally safe. When trust is high, people openly express thoughts, feeling, reactions, opinions, information’s and ideas. In case of low level of trust, people are evasive, dishonest and inconsiderate. More trust means more effectiveness in working together, resulting into sharing of resources, dividing up the work, helping others and accepting help. This leads to accomplishments of mutual goals.

  1. Cutting Edge Tips

Some of the tips that could help build personal trust and credible brand:

  • Be a good listener. When people are speaking, give them full attention. It exemplifies respect and trust and enhances communication.

  • Be open and honest, others don’t have to guess our motivations and intentions. Admit when we are wrong. We will be respected for our truthfulness and transparency.

  • Follow through on every commitment. Our promise should be as binding as a contract.

  • Do not be defensive or argue with customer. It its customers mistake, see what we can do to make things easier.

  • Be proactive. If resolution will take time, keep customer updated on status.

  • Learn how to disagree without being disagreeable. Recognize the value in opinion of others.

  • Remember overall goal. Gain credibility by helping others achieve their objectives.

  1. Summing up

An enterprise with a credible reputation can achieve all the heights marked by successful businesses that graced the evolution of world of commerce. Internal processes must be oriented to preserve and consolidate the credibility of business enterprise. Market credibility, built through hard work and dedication, pays handsome dividends in the form of business expansion, among other outcomes. On the other hand loss of credibility can be equated to a business disaster typified by a flight of customers, a dented business reputation, withdrawal of credit and finance, disappointed clientele, among other negative consequences. Every business must brainstorm the means to consolidate and strengthen its reputation in the interest of creating a long term diversified enterprise.

Trust is a quality that is earned over the time. It can’t be earned in a day or week. The key is consistency. If a customer calls our attention on a defect or a problem on product or services, we must attend it right away. Business leaders and corporate chieftains must stress importance of credibility for both internal and external customers. This attribute should be assiduously cultivated among teams, groups, business units, profit and cost centers, and all the other functions that comprise an enterprise. Leaders have the responsibility to imply the message that credibility lies at the heart of modern enterprise.



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