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The Four Cores of Credibility

August 21, 2011 - Professional Development

Stephen M. R. CoveyI recently had the pleasure of hearing Mr. Stephen M. R. Covey speak on his book, The Speed of Trust.  Though I made the decision to not read his book before the event, I gained such a wonderful understanding of Mr. Covey’s principles of trust during the two hours that he was speaking with us, that I simultaneously felt intimate with the book and had an immediate desire to read it cover to cover.

Mr. Covey spoke on many aspects and benefits of trust, such as why trust is the number one competency of leadership needed today, examples of trust as a hard-edged economic driver, and how there are two sides to trust — character and competence.  But there was one point he made that really stuck out for me.  He discussed how there is one key to building self-trust — one key to the foundation of all trust.  Credibility.

The Four Cores of Credibility

Mr. Covey’s Principle of Credibility indicates that there are four cores to credibility.  Four cores upon which an individual can build self trust.  And each of these cores builds upon the previous one.

1. Integrity

Integrity is walking the talk.  Integrity isn’t just about not telling lies, but also achieving results in an honest, principled way.  Integrity is the “root” of all trust.

2. Intent

Mr. Covey’s most poignant recommendation in this core of credibility is to communicate your intent.  No hidden agendas, nothing for your team to suspect incentives of which they’re unaware.  Lay it all out on the table.  And if there are some things you truly can’t communicate, say so.

3. Capabilities

Stay relevant.  Keep skills, knowledge, and abilities up to date and current.  Constantly learn, grow, and develop skills, so that others keep trust in and become inspired by your capabilities.

4. Results

You can have the most honorable integrity, transparent intent, and noteworthy capabilities, but if you never deliver results, people still won’t extend their trust.  As Mr. Covey explains in his book, results “classify you as a producer, as a performer.”  Without results, the other three cores won’t create credibility.


For more information on the four cores of credibility, and how to build trust, read Stephen M. R. Covey’s book, The Speed of Trust.  I was inspired by his understanding of the principles of trust, the business case of trust, and his ability to clearly communicate how to build trust on many different levels.  It can be learned.

And if you ever have the opportunity to hear Mr. Covey speak, please take it.  It was quite an inspirational evening.

Have you read The Speed of Trust?  What stuck out for you?

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