Easing the credit crisis

You probably thought from the title that you’d get in-depth advice on fixing the financial services industry. Ha! Sorry, I was not an Economics major. I was a Communications major. And we all know what you do when a Comm major comes to your door… you pay them and take your pizza. But I digress.

As a continuing student of communication, I sense a new kind of credit crisis looming today… people starving for idea credit.  We see politicians scramble to take credit for any shred of positive news, and we see them as slimy when they claim sole ownership.

Is there a credit crisis in your company culture? In tough times people are naturally nervous about keeping their jobs. It’s important to make sure your good work is recognized by the boss, but if you go too far it can be considered as over-trumpeting of your own accomplishments. I know I have been guilty of this from time to time.

I believe the collaborative culture in my company gets results because of constant “crowd-sourcing” from our awesome talent pool, and more importantly, because of shared ownership. This breaks down when one individual is glorified too much, especially when other team members have a big hand in the success. So how do you get “visibility,” without coming across as overly ambitious?

I know one sure-fire trick that will safely bring you more credit… give credit away. That sounds counter-intuitive, but you should make it a regular practice to publicly compliment those who help you achieve your goals, and cc their boss in an email.  Take them to lunch or send them a small gift or card. And then forget about it. I guarantee you will see good things come back your way when you deserve credit in the future.

More than compensation, more than benefits, more than the satisfaction of a job well done, people remember when they are appreciated… and usually return the favor.

Do you agree?

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5 Comments on “Easing the credit crisis”


  1. Like Newton Laws – the above holds true only in lower velocities… At the lower ranks of the organization “credit sharing” may work, but as you rise through the ranks, the theory of Relativity takes hold… What you observe is different from what your peers or managers observe. Competition heightens and jockeying for position takes over. You will find more people “grabbing credit” and benefiting from it. Just dishing it away wouldn’t keep you in the race…

    • Larry Baker Says:

      Interesting take on Newton’s laws and organizational behaviour. I think it reinforces David’s point. In a culture of collaboration and focusing on doing what is “right for the business” – spreading the credit works.

      In a “what’s good for me, is good for the business” environment fosters the credit competition.

      I have worked for many companies and most have had the competitive environment. The few that have had a collaborative environment have been higher performing and significantly more fun.

      This is most certainly an environment that has to be created at the top of the organization and reinforced throughout.

    • davidgoad Says:

      Excellent point, Baruch. The “level” matters a lot in this discussion. And equally important to grabbing credit at higher levels is avoiding blame when things go wrong. Things definitely get more political as you climb up the corporate ladder.

    • davidgoad Says:

      Larry I whole heartedly agree with your statement “The few companies that have had a collaborative environment have been higher performing and significantly more fun.”
      I also think that in very large companies possible to have both dysfunctional AND harmoniously collaborating groups. A lot depends on te mid-level leaders executing on the vision/culture that comes from the top.


  2. Interesting post to read, because I’ve been an entrepreneur almost all my life and I don’t have anyone giving me credit, I just do the work to my very best ability and then some, and that’s good enough for me.

    Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best:

    “Whatever your life work is, do it well.
    Do it so well that no one else could do it better.
    If it falls on your lot to be a street sweeper,
    sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures,
    like Shakespeare wrote poetry,
    like Beethoven composed music;
    sweet streets so well that
    all the hosts of heaven and earth
    will have to pause and say,
    ‘Here lived a great street sweeper.’ ”

    ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

    I agree with with this. I think people put a lot of emphasis on credit. But at the end of the day, the only one who has to really truly know that you did a stellar job is you. You’re the one who has to live with either doing a job well or doing a job half-heartedly. And there is another philosophy to take on this in that, our jobs do not define who we are as people. We are not truly our job, and it is not our job or even our boss’ job to give us our sense of self-worth.

    Our self-worth should be in personal work ethic, how we show up, how we deliver the best of ourselves to everything we say and do and being authentic with that.

    I look back to my father’s generation where an honest day’s work was all anyone really cared about. If what you did was honest and what you did was your best, that was ultimately all that mattered.
    Sure, there were frustrating days when others would even get the credit for the work he did, but that didn’t matter.

    I think in these difficult economic times, people are just glad to have work at all. It’s been a humbling time for a lot of people where CEOs and six-figure executives are giving up their lavish lifestyles and titles an delivering pizza. But if you still do your best, you’re still learning about yourself as a human on this planet.

    Everyone focuses on the rat race, getting credit, making more money than the year before and while challenges and achievement are one thing, they ultimately don’t buy us true happiness in life. The happiness in life is your own self-worth which comes from your personal integrity, your work ethic, and above all the joy that comes from whatever it is the heck you do with your time – time at work, time at play, time in life in general.

    And giving credit to yourself for a life well-lived in the arena of joy whenever you can take on that perspective for yourself, is perhaps the best credit there is.


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