The Importance of Credibility

Just in time for my second post,  I’m coming off of a five-day trip to Washington, DC, as part of my role as a program manager for oversight of the federal government’s efforts to develop a repository for high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel in the southern part of my state (Nevada).  This effort has been underway for more than two decades, and as one can imagine, it is controversial and politically sensitive.  I’ve been in my position for eight years now, and the Number One lesson I have learned is the “Importance of Credibility.”  So much of what we do in local government depends on whether the people we serve, and the stakeholders with which we interact, trust us. Credibility goes beyond “saying what you mean and meaning what you say.” It also means developing a team of people with a strong work ethic, who value integrity and professionalism, and who are willing to stand behind the work they produce, even under intense scrutiny or criticism.  Credibility is vital to all public adminstration professionals. We are the ones, of course, on whom elected and appointed officials, as well as the public, depend on to analyze problems, research issues, develop solutions, and tell the truth about what the results and potential consequences are.  Building credibility allows you to “tell your story” to a variety of stakeholders, even if they disagree with your position.  My travels to DC usually involve 15-20 meetings in a three day period, and I meet with everyone from staff for my own congressional delegation to different agencies within the federal government, to industry representatives, and environmental groups, and sometimes even the media.  It gives my team and me a great sense of pride and accomplishment to know that our credibility encourages people to listen to what we have to say, and perhaps to help influence an outcome to a situation or problem.  As effective public administrators that’s our job, and sometimes the best we can hope for, after all.

Irene Navis, AICP, Southern Nevada ASPA Chapter President

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3 thoughts on “The Importance of Credibility

  1. Very interesting, especially in these uneasy economic times. The people that the public count on to be credible find themselves in a position of disseminating information relating to budget cuts and program and staffing sacrifices that is changing so fast it might appear less than believable. If we have established credibility, people are more likely to accept what they are hearing and trust that the “powers that be” are doing all that they can to salvage and sustain through this challenging time.

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  2. Credibility is behaving in a way that causes others to believe you. In the case of Clark County, your team established and maintained credibility because our actions have spoken louder than our words.

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  3. Irene,

    I can not agree with more on your comments about credibility. The cornerstone of a successful business be it small, large, or gov’t is its credibilty.

    Your comments are both timely and timeless.

    Like

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