trust1-150x150The recent news about high profile individuals who have “embellished the truth,” gotten caught, and now are “paying the price” should make us pause.  That these are often highly visible individuals in influential roles begs the question about their being perceived as having a different level of accountability than others.   Yet I believe credibility should be a prerequisite for being in any role where you position yourself as being objective:  it’s critical in any leadership role.

Maybe much of what we see and hear is “spin” based upon the belief that the job is to sell and it really doesn’t matter what one does or says, just sell more!  That may be acceptable for many.  Is it to you?

Quite a while ago I developed a philosophy that I follow in examining people and situations:  “anything that you do or say sends a message, and anything that you do not do or say also sends a message.”  This is a wordy way to say everything makes a statement – about what is important to you as well as what you think of others.  If someone takes the time to do a bit of research it’s relatively easy for them to understand what you stand for.

Every day, both in careers as well as in life, others form impressions about us.  How do you want to be perceived?  You should care.  Most people are attracted to people they trust. That’s who they want to work as well as associate with.  Is that how people think of you?  Is this one of your goals?  If so, here are some thoughts that come to mind:

  • It’s a lot simpler being straightforward and telling the truth:  it’s easier to remember the “storyline”
  • Take the long term approach – almost every “fabrication” will come out at some time, and maybe at the most inconvenient time
  • Don’t let your friends or associates become so enamored in their story that they eventually accept it as fact when you know it isn’t

Reliability, being counted on, delivering what is anticipated:  these are descriptors that organizations as well as individuals accept as leading to success.  Are you making certain these are characteristics you adhere to?

It has been said that many people embellish their resume.  That might get you “in the door” but it will not lead to success.  From our firm’s perspective, honesty is a critical element in evaluating candidates.  We do carefully check candidate’s backgrounds.  The one thing that will automatically disqualify them from any search we conduct is to find they are not truthful.

You earn trust.  It talks a long time and doing a lot of things right.  Make certain you cherish it.  It’s awfully easy to lose.


Larry C. Shoemaker is President of Shoemaker & Associates/Cornerstone Atlanta.  He specializes in retained search, leadership assessment and coaching.  He is also President of Cornerstone International Group, a global retained search organization comprised of about 70 independently owned offices located around the globe. Headquarters are in Shanghai, China and Atlanta, GA.    He holds an International Coach Foundation ACC Credential.