A number of weeks ago, I wrote a post about trust.
As luck would have it, a great book explaining how very important trust is in business and relationships just came out. It’s called The Trust Edge, and I got to sit down with its author, David Horsager, for a little Q & A.
Why did you write this book?
Two reasons. One, I had an epiphany a while ago that the problems that some organizations were dealing with weren’t the real problem. That the real problem was a trust problem. Then I started to see the impact of trust on organizations’ bottom lines – I did my graduate research on the trust issue and all the data reaffirmed my epiphany. As did people I spoke to – from salesmen who acknowledged trust as the most important issue in their work , to people who said working on trust saved their marriages.
What did your research show?
It showed that trust is not a soft skill – it really affects businesses’ bottom lines. A lack of trust is your biggest expense. Think about it – for a trusted brand, people will pay more, and they’ll recommend it to others. A trusted leader will be followed more enthusiastically. If you don’t think trust affects the bottom line, look at Tiger Woods. He’s lost millions by now because some of those endorsements he lost will never come back, because he’s not as trustworthy a spokesman as he was. Penn State has lost so much on account of trust. Trust takes work and time and effort but it’s the only thing that brings real, lasting success. The research shows that. Mistrust more than doubles the cost of doing business. Every time trust goes up just a little bit, cost goes down, time to market goes down, employee attrition goes down, productivity goes up, everything changes. Your credit score is a trust score. You pay less when you have trust. The issue of trust is all around us.
What builds trust?
There’s been a lot of research on what destroys trust, but not a lot on what builds it. There are eight pillars that hold up trust – that create the trust edge, which I believe is the greatest competitive advantage of all time. These hold up the greatest leaders, salespeople, brands, etc. Very few people are doing all eight. Those that do have the greatest impact.
Name the pillars.
- Clarity. People trust the clear, and distrust the ambiguous. If you’re a manager, be clear about expectations. In the book, I talk about ways to set manageable, clear expectations: strategic planning.
- Compassion. We trust people that care beyond themselves. People that show people they care about them. And this affects the bottom line more than most people know.
- Character. We trust people who do the right thing, even when it isn’t easy.
- Competency. This speaks to the idea that people trust other people who stay relevant, fresh, and capable. Who keep up with the latest knowledge, who sharpen their skills. In the book, I list several ways to build competency.
- Commitment. We trust those who are committed. This starts with being committed to yourself. British Petroleum is coming back because they’re keeping their commitment to cleaning up the Gulf. People see that they mean it. 90 percent of people don’t keep a new year’s resolution they’ve made to themselves only three weeks later. Then they don’t trust themselves. We recommend making 90-day commitments that you can really follow through on. Specific little things.
- Connection. We want to be around, buy from, and work with people we consider friends. I talk about what the most magnetic – and repellent – traits are in people.
- Contribution. At the end of the day, people respond to results. If you have the other pillars, but you don’t get things done, people won’t trust you. They need to see results.
- Consistency. Sameness. This is why people trust McDonald’s. Some people might not like it, but they trust it because they know they can go into a McDonald’s anywhere in the world, and have the same experience, get the same food. This is why we don’t like moody people. They stress us out. I’d rather work with a grumpy curmudgeon than a moody person, because I know what to expect. It’s not the big idea that matters. It’s the consistency.
If there’s one lesson you’d like people to take away from your book, what is it?
First, how a lack of trust is your biggest expense, and how trust is the single most important ingredient of the best organizations, parents, marriages, etc.
Okay, I’ll give you a second one. I trust you.
Secondly, I want people to see how the eight pillar framework will help them earn more trust, have more impact, and get more out of their life.
Doesn’t this all make intuitive sense? You can buy David’s book here; I highly recommend it.
And, as always, you can buy my new book, You Gotta Have Balls, here.