Soundview Executive Book Summaries

Book Review: Credibility

by James Kouzes and Barry Posner

In the early 1990s researchers James Kouzes and Barry Posner released the book Credibility. The book was the result of more than a decade of study of the rise and fall of credibility, both in the workplace and beyond. At the time, as Kouzes told Soundview in an interview, credibility was reaching a low, particularly in the workplace. Neither author could have predicted what would occur during the following two decades. As they document in the newly updated edition of Credibility: How Leaders Gain It and Lose It, Why People Demand It, the roller-coaster ride of credibility stuttered its way back to a peak as the 1990s gave way to the new millennium. It was at that point that the wheels came off and with each successive crash (Dot Com, Corporate, Global Financial) credibility plummeted and dragged previously infallible institutions (religion, small business, public schools) with it.

In the newly released Soundview Executive Book Summary of Credibility, readers will benefit from the authors’ three decades of concentrated study on the subject of credibility. Kouzes and Posner are among the best at turning mountains of research into manageable, memorable prose. The authors’ labeling of the book as a revised edition is something of a misnomer. It is jammed with new information and provides current case studies with organizations of every discipline and size.

If executives manage to take only one piece of advice from Credibility, one hopes that they remember the authors’ acronym DWYSYWD (Do What You Say You Will Do). This principle (and its companion Do What We Say We Will Do) lies at the heart of what drives employees to superior performance. Kouzes and Posner certainly do what they say they will do by delivering another outstanding examination of what makes the best leaders tick. Credibility is a worthy companion to their previous books The Truth About Leadership, A Leader’s Legacy, The Leadership Challenge.

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