Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Smart Trust

Earlier I had read a book by Stephen R M Covey, "The Speed of Trust".  I have read a lot of books on selling and many of them talk about developing rapport.  What they really mean is trust.  People trust you for a variety of reasons, but before you even get to demonstrate that you do what you say, the better people feel they know you the more they will trust you.  Milton Friedman who I always thought of as a tough minded conservative identified trust as the key ingredient for business growth.

Stephen R M Covey and co-author Greg Link agree that trust can come in a wide range and some of it is not so smart.  You can be blindly trusting or continually suspicious with both extremes doing harm.  They have developed a grid to illustrate four general categories.

We all fear misplacing our trust, but too often we do not think of the consequences of not trusting.  Or the benefits of extending trust.  The bottom line is there is risk in trusting or not trusting.

Not trusting employees cuts off engagement.  Not trusting friends or relatives builds resentment.  Does everyone deserve full  trust--of course not.  One illustration can be found in the supermarket category where in the United States there is a 47% staff turnover, but in one very trusting company, Wegman's, (a company mentioned in my Demand blog post) turnover is only 3%.  They trust their employees to make a lot of critical decisions with their customers and it pays off in customer satisfaction as well.

Some fortunes have been made by realizing that most people will not abuse trust, although a certain percentage will.  Self serve is an example saving money, but it wouldn't be offered if fear of abuse was too great.  Many momentous deals have been sealed with a handshake.

First you have to believe in trust.  That is frightening to some of us who can recall instances of trust being violated.  But believing is essential.  Trust yourself.  Most people are good.

It is good for employers to extend trust. If it is abused it can be cut off, but if not abused it can be built upon.  Give people a chance to earn your trust.  Innovation flourishes in high trust environments.  True smart trust means giving responsibility and authority.

One long quote struck me and here it is.  "A company is granted a licence to operate from society and therefore owes society a duty of care.  Pursuit of short term performance is not enough.  That performance needs to be allied to a purpose; otherwise, the performance disappears too...companies can do well, long term, only if the societies in which they operate also do well."  Comes from Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsi Company and writer of the introduction for this book.

I remember when my son Michael was about ten and often on family trips he would be the last one out of the house.  I used to go back to check to see if the door was locked.  One time he blasted me for not trusting him and I stopped checking to see if he had locked the door.  He has proved to be trustworthy.

It might seem like a simple concept, trust, but the two authors will help you understand it better and give a lot of practical advice.

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