In the twenty-first century, trust has become the world’s most precious resource. Costs are high when trust is low. Trust is a confident belief in a person, product, or organization.
While it may appear to be static, trust is more like a forest—a long time growing, but easily burned down with a touch of carelessness.
Being talented is valuable, but being trusted is the fundamental key to anyone’s genuine success.
The Impact of Trust
Trust, not money, is the currency of business and life. For a trusted brand, people will pay more, come back, and tell others.
A lack of trust is your biggest expense. The biggest deceiver is the one who appears trustworthy when in fact he is not.
Barriers to Overcome
For any great mission it is worth knowing what you are up against.
In most sectors, trust has decreased significantly in recent years.
The barriers to overcome include:
- Conflicts of interest
- Rising litigation
- Lower customer loyalty
- Media coverage of scandals
- Speedy social networks
- Negative experiences
- Diverse thinking
- Instant gratification
- Focus on the negative
The Eight Pillars of Trust
You will find not only the eight pillars of trust, attributes that put leaders like Warren Buffett and companies like Google on top, but also practical ways to put that information immediately to use.
Pillar 1: Clarity
Clarity unifies, motivates, increases morale, and inspires trust. Clear communication leads to trusted colleagues and happy employees.
- People trust the clear and distrust the vague.
- Clarity can reduce conflict within your staff and with customers.
- Those who are trusted are candid and are not afraid to tell the truth.
- Leaders need to share the vision at least every thirty days.
- Clarity gives focus on daily tasks.
- Learn to let go.
- Ask managers for input and clear expectations frequently.
- Specificity is a motivator.
- People can’t do a great job if they don’t understand expectations.
- Communication is “shared meaning.”
- The key to conflict is not avoiding it altogether but dealing with it effectively.
Pillar 2: Compassion
Caring leads to trust.
- The four LAWS of compassion: listen, appreciate, wake up, serve others.
- Sincerity is the key component of appreciation. Consider writing sincere and heartfelt notes of appreciation.
- Everybody needs appreciation and recognition.
- Put people before things to improve relationships.
- Trusted relationships trump clever closing techniques every time.
- Care and compassion have an impact on the bottom line.
- Think beyond yourself.
Pillar 3: Character
Habits are made by what you do in private.
- Integrity builds trust in you—the first step in trusting anyone.
- Building integrity takes work, but gives the biggest reward.
- Ask yourself: “Is this the right thing?”
- To beat stress, do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, whether you feel like it or not.
- Demonstrate character through: Humility, Principles, Intention, Self-discipline and Accountability.
Pillar 4: Competency
Create a regular plan for staying competent and capable.
- Humility is the first step in learning.
- Stretch your mind with new ideas, fresh thoughts, and different viewpoints.
- Find a circle of professionals with whom you can grow and sharpen one another.
- Accept accountability in your life.
- Find a mentor who is successful or wise in the same way you’d like to be.
- Respect your mentor’s time and take his or her insights seriously.
- Be intentional about your downtime. Put a priority on creating time to learn and reflect.
Pillar 5: Commitment
Without commitment from the leader, the players will not win.
- The people who stick with you when things are tough are the ones you can really trust.
- History’s leaders who have made the biggest impact were willing to sacrifice for the greater good.
- Passion is the essential ingredient for commitment.
- Those committed to worthy causes will go out of their way to help others and make great sacrifices.
- A committed organization has fans.
Pillar 6: Connection
Trust is all about relationships.
- Engage your staff.
- Ask great questions. Listen.
- Care beyond yourself.
- Be genuine.
- Be grateful—gratitude is the common trait of the most magnetic people on earth.
- Avoid complaining; it repels.
- Insincere apologies are trust killers.
Pillar 7: Contribution
You must deliver results to be trusted.
- The more you give, the more you receive.
- Give attention, resources, time, opportunity, and help.
- Reward results.
- Make sure your Difference-Making Actions (DMAs) are focused, clear, quantifiable, realistic, and consistent with your main vision.
- Delayed decision making increases confusion, clutter, and stress.
Pillar 8: Consistency
Consistency leads to trust.
- Deliver the same thing every time, and you will become trusted.
- The track record of trust is built over time. There is no other way to lasting success.
- Don’t agree to anything you can’t deliver.
- You increase or decrease trust with every interaction.
- Trust is earned by consistent action, not just words.
Believing in people and trusting them will usually bring out their best.
- Trust is a great motivator.
- A culture of trust will improve efficiency and effectiveness.
- Trust inspires more trust.
- Consider the real risk of trusting others. The possible good often outweighs the possible harm in business.
- Be prepared to accept the magnitude of the risk.
- Don’t let fear rule your life.
When we have wronged someone or broken his or her trust, it is our responsibility to make it right.
- Trying to rebuild trust too quickly is likely to make things worse, rather than better.
- The seeds of trust are the small promises you make and keep.
- Stay away from whatever caused you to lose trust initially.
- A step toward forgiveness is learning to let go of your own grudges.
- At some point after an unaccepted apology, you just have to move on.
- When people stop trusting a company, they project that mistrust onto everything associated with it: the product, the people, the services, and more.
- Sometimes mistrust can be handled only by deep change such as changing the name, logo, or leadership.
- Relationship trust is the strongest kind of trust. Brand trust is brittle
Globalization and Trust
Get to know people individually rather than stereotyping them.
- When there are cultural differences, be transparent. Let people get to know the real you.
- People are more likely to trust others who are like them, and less likely to trust those who are different. Do the extra work to increase trust with those who are different from you.
- As a team leader, find common ground.
- Ignoring another culture’s feelings or customs leads to skepticism, not trust.
- Show people they can trust you, and most often they will.
- Making products overseas can be good business, but not if it costs you your reputation at home
Trust in the Online Age
The public’s trust can change quickly.
- Customers trust one another more than they trust propaganda.
- In an online age, reputation moves at the speed of light.
- Be smart with your email use.
- Create and implement strategies for a trusted online presence.
A Sharp and Lasting Edge
Trust is always a risk.
Risk can be scary. Risk takes courage. It might seem like a halt in progress to stop and make a genuine connection. It takes discipline to continually build competency. You might get hurt when you give compassion to an unresponsive coworker. It takes guts to risk your job or a relationship by standing up for what you think is right. Lay the groundwork of trust and enable yourself to take risks. Not every risk is going to mean a gold rush. But focus your attention on the pillars of trust and put yourself in the market for a positive return on your risk