When you think about some of the most important things in life, there is barely anything that tops trust. It is what makes for good relationships both personal and in business. One could argue that trust is the most important trait in successful individuals. Everyone in life has had a moment in life where their trust was broken. It is a pretty horrible feeling. It is such a simple thing, yet many people like to cut corners, deceive or simple not care about this important key to success. Even when it means we will get the wrath of someone, be trustworthy. This includes honesty. The amount of time a lot of people waste everyday not being honest, dragging situations on and causing confusion is amazing. Think about it, how many times have you said to someone “Why didn’t you just say that”. I know I have, as well as people have with me! We are not perfect.
You might not think that trust means anything in the short term, but over the course of say 80 years in someone’s life, you will find that a few times or even more in your life having strong trust with people or companies will save your ass. Trust can be broken down into a few things. Honesty, reliable and putting your all into the work at hand. I have rarely heard anyone complain about someone who is trustworthy. They know the buck stops with you. It actually creates and increase in people’s confidence in you. I have always broken tasks at hand into two categories. Small and big. Yea I know, I am simple. Simple wins most of the time. When you have small tasks at hand, particularly when they are asked of you, knock them out and knock them out fast. This builds trust. If you do enough of this with people, when bigger things are asked of you, you have leverage. Your trust enables you to weather the storm so to speak of more complicated tasks.
Here is an example, Suzie asks me to shovel a few holes in the ground. Easy enough, so do it fast. Report back. Do this a few times and Suzie has trust in me that I will put my all into my work. This is in no way saying you have to just be a push over, it is simply on the basis that the work is agreed upon and fruitful. Now when a more complicated tasks comes to hand, say building a fence around a house. If problem comes up, say the lumber company is out of stock of 4x4 posts, then when you go to Suzie and explain you have leverage. Leverage to say hey, you know if I had all the tools I would knock this out, but unfortunately these tools are a few days backordered. Given the trust you have built she will know it is not you, but the out of stock item. If you in the past have not knocked out the easy things quickly and dragged your feet, then the perception would be this is just you being the problem again.
Trust should be important to you in your interactions with people. Steve Jobs knew this and he had a rule about it. As he said “You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”. This is why every encounter with people is important. They define you. Are you trustworthy? If people add up their encounters with you, will they feel secure in working with you or being in a relationship with you?
Being a leader means communicating that encountering problems is expected. Only fools communicate wholly positive outlooks. While everyone wants a positive outcome, being realistic is what leaders exude. When you provide the possible problems that could be encountered and set expectations that some of them might happen, you build trust that you are the one stop shop. You will give it to people straight. Now there is a fine line between being negative and communicating that encountering problems is expected. This should not be the main talking point, but it should be a talking point. The thing that sets people apart are the ones that build in solutions to those possible problems that could be encountered. Don’t be the one pointing out issues and walking away, find the work around or solutions to said problems.
Doing this means people can trust that you have the project or tasks best interest in mind. Not your own individual ego. People who only point out negatives get nowhere in life. No one wants to listen to negatives in meetings and discussions. They want and more importantly they need the good with the bad. Problems are not an issue. Any problem has a solution, work the problem. Going back to the fence example. In the meantime, you could set the concrete bags at each hole, dig the holes, set the fencing panels at each hole. Doing that is making when you get the 4x4 posts more efficient. It is how you respond to problems, not the problems that people will gain or lose trust in you. Going back to chapter 1, right now you are doing “Waiting on fence posts to be in stock”.
Think about your life right now. Would you take you care to be fixed at a place that gives you false timelines, sporadically calls you back or forgets to do one of the three things you needed? No you are going to go to a place you trust. One you trust to update you, do all that is needed and finish the car by the time they tell you. In business and in life, people and companies who fail to build trust do not last long. In business the companies themselves do not last long. There are only so many people to purchase a business’s products or services. Break a customer’s trust, you break your company. In life you break trust you break relationships. Do this enough and you will be lonely. Trust is one of the most quintessential traits that people who dominate life understand.
We will talk about this a little later, but apologies fall into trust. If you mess up whether your fault or not, a simple apology goes a long way with building trust. In the fence example I would have said in that discussion, “I apologize for the inconvenience, I know you wanted this fence up on Wednesday. In the meantime, we will get everything else line up and completed we can so that when the 4x4 posts are in stock we can build the fence quickly.” Always recognize others pain points and acknowledge them. Doing so shows you have a vested interest in the task/project and in the person you are working with. It deescalates the situation and allows the other person, most of the time, to put down their guard. This allows for a positive work experience on said task/project. If someone can trust that you are thinking about their interest in the task/project, they will most likely be more open and understanding. They will also start to pay attention to your interests in the task/project. It is a two-way street; most people understand this.
The last thing that erodes trust is excuses. Frankly as a younger man I used a fair share of them. If I did not get something done in time it was never my fault. Now this could also be responsibility as well. I see them as very similar, because you can make up excuses which deflect responsibility. If you go to someone and time after time they say “oh I forgot”, that gets old really quick. This is where self-evaluation comes in handy. Find you weaknesses and become stronger. Saying you forgot is an excuse. Saying your dog ate your homework, alarm clock didn’t go off, etc. are all excuses. Learn to accept consequences and to cease from using excuses. People pick up on this, even after a short time working with you. If your late to work, instead of saying your alarm clock didn’t go off, use what we discussed earlier in regard to apologies. Say, “I apologize for being late I did not hear my alarm clock”. This builds trust in the person you are working with and that you will give it to them straight. If being late is not an issue for you, then this further builds trust. If it is something you do a lot than apologizing time and time again does nothing, learn to wake your ass up! Do not make constant mistakes, this destroys trust.