And You Think You Don’t Have A Trust Problem

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My intention with each of these posts is that you’re challenged to interrupt the noise and routine in your life, just for a moment, to think more deeply about what really matters in life… your relationship with yourself and with others in your professional and personal life.

“Trust is not a topic that will ever be important at corporate conferences.”

This was the advice I was given by a professional speaker’s bureau at the start of 2019.

Then Australia experienced a number of Royal Commissions into breaches of trust across a range of industries … 2019 was my busiest year since starting as a professional speaker some thirty years ago.

The Covid 19 global pandemic put a pause on ‘in-person’ conferences.

However, we invested in a purpose built, multi-camera, broadcast quality livestream and video recording studio in our home office.

This allowed me to continue working with corporate client leaders and their teams at the intersections of where trust impacts almost every measure of business success.

Fast forward to now, where ‘in-person’ events are slowly returning to the corporate agendas, the topic of trust remains important.

Sadly, many business leaders seem to be missing the point.

Results of a recent PwC survey reports that there is a huge trust gap between businesses and their customers.

The report shows 87% of business leaders believe their companies were highly trusted by their customers. However, across a range of industries, only 30% of consumers reported they trusted business.

The same report showed a trust gap between employers and employees as well.

Where 84% of executives believed their employees had high trust with their companies, only 64% of employees agreed that they trusted their employers.

The problem here is many leaders are failing to view the importance of trust, because they don’t believe there is a trust problem … and yet the evidence clearly shows there is.

One of the contributors to this trust-gap problem is the topic of trust is so vast, and impacts almost every measure of success in a business, that tackling the problem is in itself problematic.

However, when leaders and their teams practically approach trust by exploring the three lenses of trust, understanding where trust intersects business success becomes easier.

The three lenses of trust are:

  1. The confidence and control required for Self-Trust
  2. The courage and collaboration required to Trust-Others
  3. The character, competence and consistency required to Earn-Others’-Trust

By looking at trust through these three lenses, leaders and their teams can then take proactive steps to create or enhance a trust-based team and corporate culture through these Intentional Steps To Trust:

  1. Intention – get clear on what you want FOR the various business stakeholders and stop just focusing on what you want from them.
  2. Promises – get clear on what you can promise and what you cannot promise the various stakeholders in your business (the adage ‘Promise what you can deliver and deliver on your promises’ still stands the test of time in the current environment).
  3. Actions – get clear at the individual employee level about how their actions impact the fulfilling of intentional promises to the various stakeholders of the business (the evidence is clear here that this one approach can enhance employee’s sense of Self-Determination and release intrinsic motivation and develop deeper levels of engagement and meaning from work).
  4. Results – monitor and report on the results achieved to deliver on your promises to the various business stakeholders
  5. Trust – follow the previous four steps and the result is an enhanced capacity to earn, build and maintain trust across all business stakeholders.

Trust is too broad of a topic unless you approach it through the three lenses of trust and the Intentional Steps to Trust.

What these two approaches do is create a language of trust, an intention and commitment to promise and deliver results that are based on a clear understanding of how the business makes life better for their various stakeholders.

What next?

Whether you’re a leader or not, choosing to intentionally earn, build and maintain trust in your life by getting clear about what you want FOR others (not just what you want from them) is the starting line.

Results matter, however, it’s action that achieves results.

The finish line (results), which often seems so far away (and stops people from starting) doesn’t really matter so much when the focus is a little less on results, and a little more on intentional action required to strive for the results.


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