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Want to Engender Trust? Then you Must Show Consistency!

A colleague recently gave me a book to read; a book given to him by a professional who operates in the same industry I do. He knows I’m interested in what others in my field are talking about. More than that I’m curious about the author and wonder what story lies behind their chosen subject. There’s always a story…

To date I’ve only read the introduction and the first few chapters and something isn’t sitting well with me. Not having met the author I know nothing about them, except what’s on the back cover (and my colleague hasn’t read the book himself), so I can only go off my gut and how the words on the page make me feel.

So, what’s going on? Well, I’ve realised that three things in particular are grating on me:

Firstly, there are inconsistencies in both the style of writing and in what’s being said. It starts like a novel which is fine, but then quickly turns into business prose. It meant that the messaging had less impact and came across as if the author was undecided about which kind of book they wanted to write.

Secondly, there are incongruent elements in the text. This isn’t a scientific book steeped in research – there are no references – and so I read books like this with an open mind and decide for myself whether or not I agree with the assertions made. However, there are statements made in the introduction which are contradicted almost immediately and I’m struggling to get past that. Why, because it suggests the author doesn’t believe what they’re saying and it’s causing me to doubt the validity of their entire argument.

Thirdly, the author bad-mouths the competition and I find that disagreeable. We all have natural talents and things we do better than most others and I’ve always championed the promotion of that. There’s really no need to suggest that everyone else is rubbish!

I’m glad I’ve been given this book to read. It has reinforced one of my guiding principles, which is the importance of saying what you mean and meaning what you say. The unexpected learning is perhaps how easy it is to spot that incongruence in someone you haven’t met!

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