Monthly Archives: July 2016

Series on Credibility: Consistency in behavior

The behaviour of a leader is always under scrutiny and hence it is of utmost importance that all his/her actions should always convey the core values of a righteous, empathetic human being. That is the true mark of a credible leader.

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Hanumant Singh was the royal prince of Banswara and he sat out of the posh offices of the State Bank of India, where he was a Chief Manager. One day a villager came to see Hanumant Singh in his office. This person stuck out like a sore thumb. He was older, had a stubble, wore a pink turban, had soiled and slightly torn clothes and carried a stick and a cloth-covered bundle in his hand. He walked slowly and asked for directions to Singh’s office. Everyone turned around to see this person, who was clearly out of place. The office was located in the posh Cuffe Parade, a very rich area in South Mumbai.

As soon as Singh heard that someone from his home town had come to see him, he stepped out of his cabin and went to receive the person. The old man squatted on the floor. Calmly, Singh helped the man to sit on a chair. Common man and royal prince then engaged in a dialog in Rajasthani. The employees at the bank could understand very little of the exchange. Someone in the village had sarcastically told the person that if he met the prince, all his problems would be solved. So this person actually made the trip to Mumbai to meet his prince.

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At Singh’s behest, and with his ration-card in hand, one of the employees at the bank took a cab to the Azad Maidan ration store and bought rice, wheat and sugar for the villager. Grain used to be rationed in India during the time and a ration-card was required for its purchase. Singh didn’t need government ration – after all he was royalty.

But for the villager, the gift was as valuable as gold. Not only did he get his ration, but he also got royal treatment from none other than the prince of Banswara. There was a look of great satisfaction in eyes.

While sharing came very naturally to Hanumant Singh, it was his behavior with a person of much lower stature that opened the eyes of the employees that day. They witnessed the whole episode firsthand and saw Hanumant Singh display the same calmness and gentleness that puts everyone at ease. To them that was a fine example of consistent behavior by a leader which builds credibility.

Series on Credibility: Share your knowledge and help out

As they say your behaviour towards someone who is inconsequential in your life depicts your true character and credibility in the eyes of the world at large. The story below highlights the same, how an erstwhile prince, who is also the manager of the existing Indian cricket team is invited to the team selection of a local bank branch. Not only does the prince come he also genuinely gives his recommendations to the players. A mark of a truly great and credible human being…

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A local bank branch was trying to form a cricket team. They were a bunch of bank employees who were very keen on competing in the local league. They were looking to select a squad of 15 from about 25-30 other bank employees. Some of the folks had not even held a cricket bat properly and most of them did not even have the proper clothing. The venue was a dustbowl in the Oval maidan in Mumbai .

Now imagine a passionate 21 year old trying to pitch this to the Manager of the Indian cricket team! Yes, he had the nerve (or the foolhardiness) to talk about this and invite the great Hanumant Singh to the Oval. The ex-Indian cricketer, national selector and Manager of the Indian cricket team could politely have declined. He could have dismissed the idea and hardly offended the young man at all.

But the royal prince of Banswara showed up at the ground wearing his navy blue Indian cricket hat, to watch them play with a tennis ball and shoddy attire, for a full hour.

By his actions that day, Singh shared his cricket experience and selectorial abilities. He did not let the tennis-ball cricket, or a dustbowl maidan setting get in the way of sharing his knowledge. His total down-to-earth demeanor enhanced his credibility amongst the branch team.

Series on Credibility: Look out for others

What makes a great manager stand out and build his credibility in the eyes of his team? As they say actions speak louder than words. Give credit where it is due and do not forget the smallest input or effort by a team member because it is the team together that creates the largest impact.

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One time, a Manager was examining the list of invitees for a lunch to celebrate the success of a project. As he looked over the list, he noticed that they had left out one person who had worked hard in the scoping phase of the project almost 18 months ago. This person was instrumental in scoping out the project, carrying out the vendor evaluation and preparing the capital approval request at the start of the project.

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The Manager mentioned this to the Project Sponsor and she readily extended the invitation to the person. Needless to say, the person was surprised at getting the invitation. Later on he found out that the Manager had recognized his contribution to the project and he came and thanked him for going out of his way to include him in the celebration. His demeanor towards the Manager completely changed from that day on!

Series on Credibility: Tele-prospecting and being credible

Anyone who has been in sales would have at some point during their career made sales call for prospecting clients. And sometimes even that one phone call can make or break a connection to a potential prospect. How is it that credibility can be established even via a phone call? Read on…

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Maureen (a receptionist at AG Salesworks) encountered one of the rudest and pushiest sales people she had ever come across. No, it wasn’t a used car salesman, and no, it wasn’t one of those ladies at the perfume counter who sprays before asking.Surprisingly, it was someone from a very reputable technology company looking to sell Maureen’s company additional services.

Here’s how the conversation went: Maureen: “Hello, this is Maureen with AG Salesworks, how can I help you?”

Salesperson: Hi Maureen, I’m Salesperson from Reputable Technology Company. Could you transfer me to your Marketing department? Maureen: OK, may I ask what is the nature of your call? Salesperson: I’m from Reputable Technology Company. Maureen: Yes, I am aware of this, but why are you looking to speak to the Marketing department?Salesperson: You use our services. (This was not the case; a partner used their services.) Maureen: OK, are you looking to sell us additional services, to network with us, or perhaps to look into our services?

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And then the Salesperson went into her pitch. She had no idea that she had called into AG Salesworks’ main line and that the Marketing Director’s name was available over their website. In fact, she didn’t even have the faintest idea about what AG Salesworks does as a company. On top of that, she sounded miserable to have to call anyone.

Hesitantly, Maureen still transferred her — but not without informing her Marketing Director first about her tone throughout the entire interaction. As someone who has prospected for a number of years and just recently moved into an inside sales role at AG Salesworks, Maureen was taken aback by this salesperson’s complete lack of respect for their prospects’ needs or time.

This is what was going into Maureen’s head throughout the conversation: “I don’t care what you do, or what “reputable” company you may hail from, until you’ve established credibility and stated the real reason you’re calling. Neither do the rest of your prospects, nor, in this case, the decision maker. Furthermore, if you did your pre-call research, you would know why your product or service matters to your specific prospects, and would stay away from that elevator pitch.”

Without your research, you have no credibility, no matter what. If this salesperson had done her pre-call research, she would have never called into AG Salesworks’ main line to begin with. She would have known who she wanted to talk to by looking at their Management page and would have been patched through seamlessly.

The moral of the story? Do your homework. Know your prospect’s needs. It could mean the difference between a helpful call that wins you a sale and an unhelpful call that wins you a poor credibility.

Series on Credibility: Standing up for your team-member

Many times managers rely on team members to deliver at short notice. And when the team members do exceed expectation, if the manager makes a special effort to highlight the same, it definitely makes his credibility go up a notch or two in their eyes and creates greater loyalty.

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A manager was once talking very highly of one of his direct reportee’s with his peers. This person had delivered a project very successfully overcoming some challenging obstacles. The standout factor was a creative way in which the contract was worked out with a software company. The company was put on the hook to take complete responsibility for delivery of the end product. As it turned out, two unforeseen issues caused high complexity. As a result, the contract-bound software company had to put their most expensive and skilled expert on the job and deliver the solution.

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This manager wanted to showcase this project as a stellar example on the kind of leeway project managers have (and should exercise) while managing projects. He wanted to do this at one of their monthly Town Hall meetings. His boss would have none of it, since Town Halls were not meant for project training. The manager spent at least an hour arguing with his boss as to why this project should be presented. Needless to say, his direct reportee – the project manager and for whom the manager was fighting – was present during the whole discussion.

This was a good example of a leader building credibility in his team-member’s mind and winning loyalty as well.

Series on Credibility: Keep your promises

What happens when people make promises which they know they will be unable to live up to? Disappointment and loss of credibility are the natural outcomes. Hence it is important to commit only when you are reasonably confident on delivering on the promise.

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In 2000, a new contractor had joined a company on a six-month contract. After the first two months or so, the Head of the Division (HOD) noticed a certain lack of interest in the new person’s behavior and work ethic. In his discussions with the new hire, HOD could make out that he was quite intelligent, hard-working and eager to make a mark. However, the HOD could not match those personal attributes with his work ethics. This person did not contribute to discussions, kept watching the clock and displayed a general apathy towards work.

As the HOD probed further, he got to know that during his interview he requested “read only” access to the company’s BW (Business Warehouse) system so that he could further enhance his BW skills. The hiring manager agreed and promised he would get the requested access. At the time BW was a promising skill-set to have, and he wanted to further his knowledge as he worked in another technology.

However, he realized a month after he joined, that he would not get access to BW, since that system was controlled by a manager in another department. The manager who interviewed this person and who he reported to had no control over the BW system. That manager promised a prospective employee something that she could not have delivered since she did not have any control or ownership over the BW system.

This is a classic case of a person (the hiring manager) losing credibility in the eyes of another (the contractor).

Series on Credibility: Do not play upon the credibility of others

The root of the word “credibility” is “credo,” which means “I believe” in Latin. Put simply, credibility is the feeling of trust and respect that you inspire in others. If you’re going to invest your time, energy, and enthusiasm with someone, you want that person to be credible and worthy of your trust. Hence credibility plays an important role in building inter-personal and even inter-organizational relationships.

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There was once a miser. He thought he was very clever. Once he happened to lose his purse containing a hundred pieces of gold. He was in great distress. He went to the town crier and asked him to announce a reward of ten gold coins to one who would restore the purse to him.

After a few days a farmer came to him with the purse. He had found it lying in his farm. The miser counted the money. He found that the purse contained a hundred pieces of gold. He thanked the farmer for the pains he had taken.

The farmer now wanted the reward as announced. The miser said that he had all ready taken the reward because there were a hundred and ten coins in it. The farmer now understood how clever the miser was. He, therefore went to the judge.

The judge sent for the miser and heard him. He at once understood that the miser was a trickster. He decided the case in favour of the farmer. He said that the purse contained only one hundred pieces of coins and therefore the purse could not belong to the miser. The miser had over reached himself and therefore had to suffer.

Moral: Do not play upon the credibility of others.