On telling the truth if you’re an expert

Last week I wrote about integrity as a productivity hack.

My friend and Thought Leaders founder, Matt, said that he thought I was being a little cunning sneaking integrity under the radar as a productivity hack. He’s right – integrity is a much bigger conversation than something to hack productivity (although I stand by what I wrote – it’s also the most important muscle to work on if you want to get more productive).

I think if you’re an expert running a thought leader’s practice, your integrity is also a critical part of your brand and your positioning. It might be different in a business (although probably not) where you can afford to burn people. In a practice you are the brand, and if I don’t trust you, it’s game over.

A couple of weeks ago I got an email with this subject:

“A personal invitation to YOU!”. It was from someone I knew … and a personal invitation for ME! with capitals and an exclamation mark! (although I have to say, I was a little suspicious … I’m pretty sure if it was a personal invitation just for me, you wouldn’t have to shout it in the subject line).

Still, I opened the email to find out that the sender was “super excited” to invite me to a “Group Coaching and Webinar series for women leaders.”

Now I don’t want to get into gender politics, and I definitely don’t want to stereotype gender identity … but I’m still pretty sure that it actually wasn’t a personal invitation for me after all. And that the subject was just click bait to get me to open the email.

In other words, a lie. And I think in a practice that’s not commercially smart.

If you want to be an expert, a thought leader, a trusted advisor … and you want to sell that, the most important thing you have is trust. And of course, the key to building trust is to act with integrity.