Sunday, August 29, 2010

Who Do You Trust?

  • Would you let a doctor operate on you if you didn't trust him?
  • Would you eat at a restaurant if you didn't trust the food to be safe and clean?
  • Would you invest your hard earned money in a financial institution that you didn't trust?
In the Washington Post recently, there was an article entitled "Soldier Dies, Insurer Profits". It shared how some major insurance companies mislead (not fully & correctly disclosing key pieces of information) insurers and their beneficiaries.

As I had significant amounts of money (for me anyways) in one of these financial institutions mentioned, reading the article shook my faith and confidence in the institution and I immediately pulled out my funds. Logically, I am sure they were safe and sound but deep inside of me, in essence, regardless of all logic, I simply lost trust in the institution. I can't help but wonder how many others felt the same and took similar steps.

I then further realized how strong a factor trust is in in our lives, not only personally but also professionally and for our enterprises. Without trust, we have nothing. When it really comes down to it, all meaningful and lasting relationships are built on trust. When trust is strong, everyone wins and grows. When it breaks down, eventually everything breaks down cause all successful relationships and enterprises are built on the foundation of trust.

So, how does one go about building trust? After much reflection, I come up with several key elements that provide the foundation to building trust. Here they are:

1. Communication & Accountability: Do you communicate clearly, authentically, honestly, fully, and consistently? Do you hold yourself accountable, doing what you say you're going to do? Do you keep your words?

2. Understanding Each Other: I find that many of us do not truly understand human behavior, and therefore each other. For example, if someone say is being "aggressive", in the absence of proper understanding, such folks are frequently labeled as being pushy, a jerk rather then for the true gift they offer. It's often a question of intention vs. impact, fact vs. judgment. As an aside, it is this lack of understanding that often leads to misunderstandings and leads to disengagement which in turn has significant negative impacts on our enterprises and our various relationships, personal and professional.

3. Walk and Talk Alignment. Are your words, deeds, decisions, behaviors & actions aligned?

4. Systems & Processes: Do you have systems and processes in place that provide forums actively seeking open & honest feedback? And when feedback is provided, do you do something with it as well as communicate with those who provided the feedback that you heard them and took appropriate actions?

In the end, trust is built by the little things, such as the the words you speak, your behavior, your actions, your body language, your tone. And when we have trust, organizationally speaking, as the graphic above depicts, it leads authentic conversations, stronger relationships, genuine engagement rather then just going through the motions, some risk taking in the spirit of innovation, real caring service and all that ultimately leads to on-going renewal and growth. Everyone wins.

For those you trust, what is it about them that leads you to trust them?

No comments: