In our business relationships, whether between two service providers, an employer and employee, or an internal management team, there are few commodities more valued than trust.
In fact, trust is the very foundation of building successful relationships, and if win-win outcomes are the objective, we can’t overlook the significance of establishing trusted partnerships.
But rather than naming trust as one of our company values and leaving the rest to chance, it’s important that we take the time to understand both what it is, and how we achieve it.
Trustworthiness is the key
You could be forgiven for thinking that trust and trustworthiness are the same things, however, it’s important to note that one, in fact, precedes the other, with trust being the result of consistently demonstrating that you’re trustworthy.
I highlight this difference because it’s essential that we remember that no one is entitled to trust – it’s something that is earned or lost, through our actions – and with this in mind, our focus should be on striving for more trustworthiness, rather than more trust.
The power of demonstration
As alluded to above, and as Onora O’Neill points out in her TED talk, people will only place trust where it is demonstrated and proven, which requires a consistent track record of performing in a manner that displays competency, honesty, and reliability.
This means that there’s no room for shortcuts or smoke and mirrors – the pursuit of trust plays out like a marathon, not a sprint, and if we are to build a reputation of trustworthiness, every action and decision adds up.
It’s only going to get more important
As our world becomes increasingly hyperconnected, and globalisation continues, the essential nature of demonstrating more trustworthiness is only going to be emphasised, and it’s clear that the trusted will prosper, whilst the distrusted falter.
In our everyday lives, we all gravitate towards what we know and trust, so in business the equation is simple – we must commit to building trustworthiness, and if we do that, trust, and growth, will follow.