Actions can Hurt Your Credibility

I warn managers, and anyone in general, to be careful of the words you use. The words may sound great, but if they aren't backed up by the appropriate action, your credibility and any trust you are trying to build will be ruined.

The best example of this is a company that refers to itself as "employee centric" or something like that. They like to say that the employee is their most valuable resource and that they come first. Companies rarely mean it and eventually they will do something that demonstrates that. Then they wonder why engagement is low.

A great example if Jamie Dimon from Citibank. He has been very outfront on some big issues - diversity and company responsibility are two areas. He led a group of major corporations who agreed that the shareholder should come last in the responsibilities of the company. Society, the employees, and the customer should come first. He announced this belief to great fanfare. I remember at the time a friend of mine was trumpting this news and so thankful companies were finally "getting it". I told him to hold on, let's see what their actions do.

Unfortunately, I was more right than I wanted to be. As the end of Covid was near, Jamie Dimon came out and said he wanted all employees back in the office. He said something to the effect that "I don't care if they don't like their commute". What he didn't realize is that every employee thought back and realized that his actions proved that the employee wasn't most important. He was placing the company's need to do its job over the employee.

The next time he makes a grand promise to his employees, I guarantee their first thought will be "right, just like how we mattered until it was something that he didn't like". Trust me, I've been there - that is exactly what they will think. That one mess up (for which he never corrected himself) will cloud everything he says going forward.