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Likeability vs. Credibility

Has anyone read the story in today’s Wall Street Journal (page one) about the chairman of Smith & Wesson resigning after a reporter uncovered that he was a convicted serial armed robber during his 20s? James Joseph Minder, now 74, committed dozens of hold-ups, stealing getaway cars, disguising himself with a trench coat and dark glasses, and terrorizing bank employees with a sawed-off shotgun and even a Smith & Wesson.

Has anyone read the story in today’s Wall Street Journal (page one) about the chairman of Smith & Wesson resigning after a reporter uncovered that he was a convicted serial armed robber during his 20s?

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James Joseph Minder, now 74, committed dozens of hold-ups, stealing getaway cars, disguising himself with a trench coat and dark glasses, and terrorizing bank employees with a sawed-off shotgun and even a Smith & Wesson.

A regular Butch Cassidy. But instead of escaping to a cabin in Patagonia, Minder turned himself around – he finished college and graduate school, married a nice woman (and is still married to her, 28 years later), and spent two decades setting up programs and group homes for delinquent, abused, neglected and developmentally disabled children and young adults in Michigan.

What a nice guy!! So nice and likeable that other Smith & Wesson board members “patted him on the back and told him they still backed him as the company’s chairman” when Minder sat them down at his kitchen table and came clean about his past.

But Minder was the wiser. He insisted on resigning, because staying would be “much too damaging to the company.”

Likeability and credibility aren’t really connected. Minder turned out to be a swell guy, but his credibility as a gun company chairman might not have stood the test of his felony past being suddenly blown wide open. With secrets like that, what else is this guy hiding?

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In an earlier posted comment, Peter Davidson argues Martha Stewart’s problem is one of likeability, not credibility. “She still has credibility in matters of lifestyle but people don’t like the fact that she lied.”

She might not lie about the thread count of sheets, correct, but might she recommend a particular product because she somehow benefits? I’d bet my milk glass collection she would.

To many, Martha was never likeable in the first place. Even before her stock scandal, she was known as a bit of an over-controlling ice princess. Not always liked, but thought to be credible.

Don’t you know of people you like but don’t perceive as credible? And can’t you think of someone you don’t particularly like, yet you consider him or her as credible?