In describing how he picks his key resources, Jack Welch noted that he looks for A-class resources, in his Winning book.  Over a period of time, Welch reviews the performance of his key resources, and argues that you should keep A-class people, while motivate B-class, work on C-class, and let D-class move away. Welch classification of A, B, C and D was based on two parameters: Deliverability and Value system. He argues that companies have to hire and retain people who delivers and performs within a system of values such as respect, integrity, ethics…etc. Those are A-class people. In his book, Welch contended that a value system is of a paramount importance to sustainable organizational growth and performance. Yes indeed! I do agree.

But! Senior executives most often over do it. They do focus on one aspect of it, i.e. the value system or Honesty. We hear very often that we are keeping this manager or that because they are sincere and honest. They have a bullet-proof integrity and will never cheat on us, steal or commit unethically. Yes indeed! This is of a paramount importance, nonetheless, having honest managers will not do the job. It will simply not guarantee any sustainable growth, more badly, it might ruin your current growth plans and motivated workforce because of their incompetence.

Today’s executives have to broaden the way they consider honesty to be laid in a frame of Credibility. A wonderful representation of credibility is a magical blending of Honesty and Expertise, a much well-written formula will comprise of both:

Credibility = Honesty + Expertise

An honest manager might not deliver and make results. An experienced manager might not deliver as well in a sustained manner because he lacks a system of ethics and values. Hence, we have to hunt for both. For managers to have a competitive advantage in today’s turbulent business environment; they have to excel in both, they have to be highly credible resources.

In the last year or so, once the economical turmoil surfaced globally and impacted almost every corporation, we came to see how big celebrity CEOs are quitting their jobs or being laid off. Others were pulled to jail. We witnessed several cases in the Middle East and especially in Dubai. CEO’s, VP’s, managers and several top managers were held for embezzlement, forgery or misconduct. All of those have delivered successfully over years prior to the financial crisis, but since they lacked a value system, they soon collapsed and did their organizations.

What we did not see or witness, and I do think we will soon is the type of executives and managers who quit because of their incompetence or dysfunctional performance. There are many around us, leading local, national and international organizations but they simply do not perform. Their organizations were delivering as everyone was, and they were gaining during the booming days in Dubai and Middle East. Now the cover is gone, the wind settled down, and only serious businessmen can survive, we are thrilled to see how these people will lead, and whether they will deliver or not.

The dilemma is that there are local law enforcement agencies to track managers who lack integrity and commit fraud. Media pays their cases big attention. Unfortunately, those managers who are not delivering, who are incompetent, who commits management misconduct and lacks positive and sound expertise, are almost forgotten. They so often quit and leave silently with no much noise, while the damages of their incompetence might stay for years to come!

Boards and business owners have to pay more attention. A careful scrutiny for people’s ability to deliver and their whole credibility is as much crucial as honesty. This is to ensure a sound and sustainable business to work and grow.


Mouaz Aref Al-Zayyat

Honesty is insufficient, Credibility is!
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5 thoughts on “Honesty is insufficient, Credibility is!

  • February 22, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Andrew O’Connell on his article “The Dividends of Trustworthiness” published on HBR on February 18, 2010 complemented what I am trying to explain in this blog. He made good point by adding a third dimension which he called ‘benevolence’: “benevolence (do you have good intentions toward them?), integrity (do you adhere to principles they find acceptable?), and capability (can you do what you intend?).”

    Read his article here:


  • April 3, 2010 at 12:20 am

    I have been posting here for long, I did find this post really worth of publishing to another forums and share with other friends, well I do it on your permission, coz I think this will help several other webmasters as well. If you will like this to shared on other forums as well, I will really like to help. I will post it with your name to make your work really help full for you as well! Keep up the good work, post more topics like this and I know the forum will really be proud of their best resources.

  • April 10, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    Hi, where did you get this information can you please support this with some proof or you may say some good reference as I and others will really appreciate. This information is really good and I will say will always be helpful if we try it risk free. So if you can back it up. That will really help us all. And this might bring some good repute to you.

    • April 10, 2010 at 7:10 pm

      Hi. This article reflects my thoughts on the importance of expertise and raising executives awareness that honesty alone doesn’t deliver.

      For sources; you can check both: Winning by Jack Welch and Leadership: Enhancing the lessons of experience by Huges.


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