In a previous article I wrote, “Is Orrin Woodward Scamming People?”, one of the questions I recommended asking before determining whether or not you’re facing a scam was “Is my source credible?”. (Dan Hawkins, a leadership expert and co-founder of LIFE, also has a great post about this.) That got me thinking on the topic of credibility, and what even qualifies someone as “credible.”
I’ve recently been reading a book called The Speed of Trust, a New York Times best seller written by Stephen M.R. Covey, the co-founder and CEO of CoveyLink Worldwide and former CEO of Covey Leadership Center. Covey delves into the very principles of credibility, and uses the example of a lawyer in court attempting to prove to the jury that an expert witness can be considered “credible.” According to Covey, there are four key factors and lists them as follows:
The 4 Cores of Credibility
Covey categorizes the first two cores as matters of a person’s character and the second two as matters of a person’s competence. So that means, when you ask yourself whether or not a source is credible, you really need to ask yourself these questions:
Does your source have integrity? This means he/she is not only honest, but is congruent in all aspects of his/her life, puts principles ahead of self, and is courageous enough to do what’s right even when it’s hard.
What is your source’s intent? What reason does he/she have to pass along the information? Is there a hidden motive or agenda behind his/her behavior?
How capable is your source in the particular area you’re studying? What are his/her credentials?
What results does your source have? What’s his/her track record? Do you want the same results he/she has?
Just think it through.
A mouth is all someone needs to have an opinion. But if you’re going to listen to that person, make sure it’s worthwhile.