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Stealing Credibility

Last year I wrote about a number of instances where individuals were lying about their education and credentials in an attempt to benefit their career. Once individual even landed a job with a leading law firm that was supposed to have a reputation for diligence.  Since then I’ve noticed a significant increase in individuals on the internet, especially face book who are intentionally mis-using terms such as ‘Best-selling author’ and ‘Award-winning.

This week in particular one individual made such claims of being an ‘Award-winning’ something.  In the past, she claimed to have an M.B.A. to which I challenged her claim. There are certain concepts that an M.B.A. would be familiar with and she was far from understanding even the most basic of management concepts.  Somehow, over the years her claims have continued to be ‘exagerated’.

So, why would someone make such claims? It is an attempt to steal credibility that she otherwise does not have. In her case, she is trying to use this made-up credibility to attract paying attendees to an event. But, why would someone need to be deceptive to build credibility?

I believe that if you are genuine, sincere and responsible to your commitments that you’re character will hold credibility on its own.  The reason that people look to education and experience for credibility is because it tells them what you’ve learned and been able to accomplish. For example, someone with a Masters Degree from The University of Toronto in Mathematics would have developed very powerful reasoning, analytical and calculative skills.  A similar degree in Social Sciences would also have developed strong research and analytical skills.  Therefore, if I’m looking to hire someone with these skills and they have such a degree I would more likely hire them.

The problem is that some people think they can do the job even if they don’ have the necessary skills.  They’re great at selling the sizzle, but what about delivering on what they need to do? Imagine paying for a car and then finding out that the breaks don’t work? I came across a situation a few years ago whereby a foreign-trained physiotherapist told me that the pain in my knew was because I was missing a muscle in my foot.  Even I knew that didn’t make sense.  So, I went to the two best experts in the field and they both said he was talking nonesense. After a few weeks of special exercises the pain was forever gone.

So, if you think there is no harm in stealing credibility – think again. The price we pay when some people make unsubstantiated claims is much greater than you think.  If you believe the government is looking out for these situations, I can give you examples of politicians who have been caught doing the same thing.

Be aware, use your head and know who you’re dealing with.  Remember to do your diligence and research. Good luck.

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