“No matter what your role is, trust affects your influence and success.”
The Trust Edge, page 3
What is the foundation of success? Trust. But how do you become worthy of trust? David Horsager quantifies it in The Trust Edge. Warning: If you are hoping for a quick fix, it doesn’t exist. Building trust is like growing a forest. Many seeds are planted, nurtured over time and then with one small match, destroyed.
So how do you plant and nurture those seeds? Horsager teaches us how to build 8 pillars of trust. Trust is the natural result of thousands of tiny actions, words, thoughts and intentions. Gaining trust is work! Every interaction has the potential to increase or decrease trust. What is the benefit to all that work? Those who embrace the 8 pillars will enjoy better relationships, reputations, retention, revenue and results. He shows us how trust, not money, is the currency of business and life!
Crisis of Trust
“In spite of the importance of trust in our business world today, few leaders have given it the focus it deserves.”
The Trust Edge, page 28
We are in a crisis of trust. A study by Datamonitor found that 86% of the consumers in the US and Europe were less trusting of companies than they had been just five years ago. Another study Horsager cites suggests that fewer than 2 out of 5 employees today have trust or confidence in their senior leaders. In my area, pharmaceutical companies have fallen from being Fortune magazine’s most admired industry (Merck for 7 years in a row) to now where we are ranked alongside tobacco companies! Why? Trust—or rather lack of it.
Despite this, people seldom talk about trust as a competency to learn and practise!
The good news is that the trust edge is built on habits that can be formed. The development of habits implies consistent work over time. Is it worth it? YES! The benefits are tremendous. The lower the trust, the more time everything takes and the more things cost. The higher the trust, the faster the innovation, the greater the creativity, freedom, morale and productivity! Trust can accelerate growth while mistrust destroys it.
How to Grow Trust
”Trust has become the world’s most precious resource.”
The Trust Edge, page 2
Horsager teaches the 8 pillars of trust, attributes that put leaders like Warren Buffet and companies like Google on top. He also includes practical ways to live those attributes. The 8 pillars include:
1) Clarity: People trust the clear and distrust the vague. Show people the “what” and let them create the “how”. Communicate the vision frequently.
2) Compassion: Caring leads to trust. Listen, appreciate, recognize, serve others.
3) Character: Integrity builds trust. Ask yourself “Is this the right thing to do?” Demonstrate character through: humility, principles, intention, self-discipline, accountability.
4) Competency: Create a plan for staying competent. Stretch your mind with new ideas, fresh thoughts and different viewpoints. Be intentional with your downtime. Prioritize learning.
5) Commitment: Without commitment from the leader, the team can not win. Passion is the essential ingredient for commitment.
6) Connection: Relationships build trust. Ask great questions and listen. Care about others. Be genuine. Be grateful. Avoid complaining. Apologize sincerely.
7) Contribution: Deliver results. The more you give the more you receive. Choose difference-making actions that are focused, clear, quantifiable, realistic and consistent with your main vision. Don’t delay decisions; it increases confusion, clutter and stress.
8) Consistency: The track record of trust is built over time. Action, not words, builds trust.
Lots of Choices – Pick Just One!
“There are some circumstances beyond our control, but for the most part, we are the result of our collective actions and decisions.”
The Trust Edge, page 227
I chose the Consistency pillar to expand upon because while all the 8 pillars are important, if they are not done consistently, they will crumble. Similar to lessons from Darren Hardy’s The Compound Effect, Horsager suggests it is the little things, done consistently over time that makes the biggest difference in sharpening the trust edge. What are those little things? Horsager suggests that if you do the following over time you will see dramatic results:
1) Take the stairs instead of elevator
2) Eat healthy food
3) Read good books
4) Find a mentor/be a mentor
5) Write in a journal
6) Plan getaway time
7) Drink water instead of soda
11) Cut TV time
12) Be around great people and imitate them
13) Write thank-you notes
14) Listen to good music or messages
15) Take time to think and dream
16) Go out on a date with your significant other
17) Be grateful
I was reading this book on the airplane to Jamaica for our family’s March break. After investigating the resort I said to the kids, as I averted them from the elevator to the stairs to head up to our room on the fifth floor, “We’re stairs people”. Everyday we raced up and down those stairs. The kids reminded me at the end of one particularly hot, long, adventurous day, with my arms laden with sand toys, towels, books and bags (read: Mommy was tired!) that “We’re stairs people, Mommy!” Right.
What one thing from the list above could you do consistently for the next ninety days? How would it change your life for the better?
I don’t think anyone would argue that being trustworthy is key to business and life success. Then why do we not spend time learning how to cultivate it? Something with this much benefit is certainly worth the expenditure of much effort! You can begin by reading Horsager’s book. This review summarized just one pillar. There are 7 more…. Enjoy!