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The 3 Cs of building a credible personal brand

Monday, February 9, 2015  
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By Betsy Hosick

When discussing emerging leaders and their potential, we often talk about the importance of establishing a personal brand. But rarely do we openly discuss an important component of any personal brand: Credibility.

Credibility is the foundation any brand, whether a product brand, a company brand or your own personal brand. The value of your brand is based on the credibility you have built and it can grow or diminish based on how others perceive your credibility.

Credibility is about how we earn the trust of others. It marks the legacy that we leave behind at any leadership level.

Related: "5 easy steps to build your personal brand"

So how do you build credibility and maintain it over time? It may seem daunting, but in reality, it is all about truth. In one of my favorite books by James Kouzes and Barry Posner, aptly titled Credibility, the authors write "To be a credible leader, you must have character, whose essential ingredients are credo, competence and confidence. :

Here's what each of those mean to me:

Credo is all about your values, understanding what they are and living by them. This is the heart of credibility, knowing what is important to you and being able to stand by those values. Credo is really the guiding principle you will go by even in the face of adversity. This is really the heart of "walking the talk,” doing what you say you will do and owning up to your own shortcomings. Leaders don’t have to be perfect, but they do have to be honest.

Competence is about doing your homework so that you are prepared and know the subject matter you are charged with safeguarding. It takes work to build your competence, but it is an important ingredient in building your brand. You must have the training, knowledge and understanding of the task at hand.

Confidence is knowing you can deliver the results and that you have the will and the drive to do it. I sometimes give myself pep talks to instill confidence in myself so that I truly believe I will deliver the results.

None of these things come easy and they all have a price, but without them credibility and trust in your brand are lost.

Betsy Hosick is  Board chair of the Network of Executive Women and general manager, procurement-downstream, midstream and services for Chevron Corporation. Her 30-plus-year career in the convenience and petroleum industry has human resources, field operations, marketing, merchandising, distribution and procurement and supply chain management. She has received numerous awards, including Chevron’s coveted Chairman’s Award recognizing her as "Better than the Best.”

Views expressed in blogs, posts and user comments are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Network of Executive Women or its Officers, Board members and corporate partners.

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