The 4 Cores of Credibility

The “4 Cores of Credibility” are the foundational elements that make you believable, both to yourself and to others. You will recognize them as the same elements that would prove or destroy your credibility as an expert witness in a court of law.

The first two cores deal with character; the second two with competence. And all four are necessary to self trust.

Core 1: Integrity

The first core deals with issues of integrity. This is what most people think about when they think of trust. In many, “integrity” basically means “honesty.” While integrity includes honesty, it’s much more. It’s integratedness. It’s walking your talk. It’s being congruent, inside and out. It’s having the courage to act in accordance with your values and beliefs, interestingly, most massive violations of trust are violations of integrity.

Core 2: Intent

The second core deals with issues of intent. This has to do with our motives, our agendas, and our resulting behavior. Trust grows when our motives are straightforward and based on mutual benefit – in other words, when we genuinely care not only for ourselves, but also for the people we interact with, lead, or serve. When we suspect a hidden agenda from someone or we don’t believe they are acting in our best interest, we are suspicious about everything they say and do.

But integrity and intent are matters of character.

There are no moral shortcuts in the game of business – or life. There are, basically, three kinds of people: the unsuccessful, the temporarily successful, and those who become and remain successful. The difference is character.

Jon Huntsman, Chairman, Huntsman Chemical

Core 3: Capabilities

The third core deals with issues of capabilities. These are the abilities we have that inspire confidence – our talents, attitudes, skills, knowledge, and style. They are the means we use to produce results. A family doctor might have integrity and his motives might be good, but unless he’s trained and skilled to perform the task at hand (brain surgery, for example) he’ll be lacking in credibility in that area. Capabilities also deal with our ability to establish, grow, extend, and restore trust.

Core 4: Results

The fourth core deals with issues around results. This refers to our track record, our performance, our getting the right things done. If we don’t accomplish what we are expected to do, it diminishes our credibility. On the other hand, when we achieve the results we promised, we establish a positive reputation of performing, of being a producer… and our reputation precedes us.

Both capabilities and results are matters of competence.
From “The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything” by Stephen M. R. Covey