If you look up the definition of “trust” by Merriam-Webster online, it will say, ‘firm belief in the character, strength, or truth of someone or something.’ Merriam-Webster also defines “trust” as ‘a person or thing in which confidence is placed.’ Trust is an enormous topic and critical for any person or business to be successful regardless of the industry that you are in. Trust is very simple, you either have it or you don’t. It is so important that companies spend millions each year on marketing to convince clients to trust them with their time and money. Trust is also critical between the employer and its employees; if this relationship lacks trust, the company is doomed.
Here are four simple and effective ways to gain and maintain trust:
TELL THE TRUTH
Always tell the truth, especially when it is the hardest. Truth is the most basic element of any trusting
relationship. You may be wondering – does this mean you have to tell everyone everything? Certainly not but when you are providing people with information, it must be truthful. The nice thing about the truth is that communication is always consistent and believable. “If you tell the truth, you won’t have to remember anything” – Mark Twain; I use this little gem of knowledge regularly.
COMMUNICATION IS KEY
Nobody wants to be surprised or kept in the dark. This is the reason why newsletters, blogs, annual reports, and account statements are sent to clients on a regular basis; to keep everyone on the same page by providing relevant details. When dealing with clients, staff, suppliers and sub-trades, it is equally important to communicate in order to build and maintain trust.
“Actions always speak louder than words.” If you say you will do something, do it without excuses. If there is a valid reason for not being able to complete a task, it is imperative to provide ample notice. Simple things such as show up on time, follow up to ensure tasks are completed, and ensure nothing stands between you and your commitments. People trust more when you stick to your word and follow through with your promises.
HAVE A PLAN
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” – Benjamin Franklin. By creating a plan, we must acknowledge the potential risks of a situation which makes it easier to identify a course of action if problems arise. Little things like leaving early to avoid being late, making a prioritized check list to ensure everything gets done, maintain realistic expectations, set reminders for important items, and the list goes on. Having a plan for success is another way to gain and maintain trust.
Just one more thing to add, I heard a phrase many years ago that struck me as a critical element to building a great team and mutual respect – “trust, but verify.” There is nothing wrong with having a process of delegating responsibility, it will often increase efficiency and profitability, but verifying that tasks are completed to the required standard is necessary. Verification is not a sign of distrust but rather a method of quality control. All entrepreneurs know that they are ultimately responsible, therefore establishing a trusting relationship with employees, suppliers, and sub-trades is critical and verifying that a task will be completed, or materials delivered is simply due diligence.
We should understand that trust is something most people want in their relationships; we desire to trust and be trusted. Trust is a feeling, not a fact or a number, and it is often this feeling of trust that is so powerful that will reward you with a client’s business, an employee’s loyalty, and truly long-term friendships and relationships.
Work hard to establish trust and work even harder to protect it because once trust is lost it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to regain.
I hope this article gave a few nuggets of knowledge that can help you as you move forward with your passion.
by Dan Monk