The Challenge of Trust

Good morning from a chilly Virginia suburb.

I’ve had much to ponder about the issue of trust the last few months and I believe I’m not the only one.

There are many aspects to building trust, earning trust and keeping trust. How to be someone that has the trust of many. What does it mean?

For me, trust is about consistency.  Companies and colleagues earn my trust (and respect, but that’s another blog post) when they are consistent in the delivery of product, in the keeping of their word, in the transparency of their motive(s) and most importantly, in the acknowledgement of exactly where they are. Are they struggling? Are they tired? Are they distracted? Is a challenge keeping them from being focused?  Is their ego keeping them from acknowledging and accepting the mistakes made? Do they acknowledge your contribution? Does that colleague thank you? Do they share your success with their team? Is the trust mutual? Can they keep business and personal confidences?Are they soaring with success?

There are businesses that reach out to me to speak, write and consult for them– but it’s all Take! Take! Take!. Rarely have I seen a reciprocal offer. Sue France recently wrote (I think on the Executive Secretary Facebook page) about companies or organizations that ask her to travel and train for little or no fee. I know this is constant request for many trainers and speakers.

My concern is more about how organizations continually drain trust from a constant state of ‘what can you do to help me/us’ as opposed to ‘Hey, how are you doing?’. Or, What could we do together that would benefit both of us? Or, I really like the effort you’re making on behalf of (some organization name here), how can I support that? And in doing so, support you?

Trust also comes from a point of intent. What is the intent of the interaction? Are you trying to get something, sell something, buy something? Or, more importantly, are you trying to establish a working relationship, a collaboration? (Ted Rubin’s #RonR – all about relationship building.  Check out more about Ted.). Can you operate in an arena where you are confident in your skills, your level of professionalism, and in what you offer to the universe in such a way that you can rise above the insidious fear of losing, not being enough, not having something worth contributing?

Over the last few months, I’ve begun calling out people and organizations I support when trust has been diminished or lost. And, I’ve done so privately. I’ve explained how they lost my trust and why I chose to limit my engagement with them socially and/or professionally. Or, if it on tenuous ground at least explain where I stand and what it would take to earn back my trust. I also have to be mature enough to take the feedback of any reciprocal insights on the relationship which is sometimes much easier said than done.

Ponder this. Are you contributing to an organization? Your family? To your best friend’s efforts to change career? Is there mutual trust that the support is genuine? Are the actions you take consistent with an intention of keeping that person’s trust? Do the actions you take fit your personal moral and ethical values? How about theirs? Are you consistent in your behavior? Period.

It takes courage to address trust issues before they become brutal, simmering resentments and passive-aggressive interactions. It’s a challenge worthy of trust.







Author: KMK Foley

Storyteller. Wicked sense of humor. Tenacious learner, Coffee Lover, especially Dunkin' Donuts.