What can destroy a relationship, cause a company to lose customers and make athletes sacrifice millions in endorsements?
It's trust, of course.
If you've ever regretted giving your heart to someone or done business with a company that didn't deliver on its promises, you know that trust is a BIG DEAL.
"The single uniqueness of the greatest leaders and organizations of all time is trust," says David Horsager, author of The Trust Edge: How Top Leaders Gain Faster Results, Deeper Relationships and a Stronger Bottom Line. "When there is low trust, everything takes more time and money and creates more stress. Lack of trust is your biggest expense. Companies with high trust levels outperform companies with low trust levels by 186 percent. Everything of value from relationships to financial systems are built on trust."
Whether you're trying to build a strong marriage and family or a multimillion dollar organization, trust matters. In fact, Horsager contends that, even if you have excellent communication skills, insight, vision and charisma, you won't go very far without trust.
He also says it's the currency of business and life.
So what is trust, exactly?
According to Horsager, it's a confident belief in someone or something. It's the confident belief in an entity to do what's right and to deliver on what is promised and to be the same every time, whatever the circumstances. For example, being trustworthy implies reliability, dependability and capability. You are trusted to the degree that people believe in your ability, your consistency, your integrity and your commitment to deliver.
Horsager's research has identified eight pillars which are key to building and supporting trust:
Clarity. People trust the clear and mistrust the ambiguous.
Compassion. People put faith in those who care beyond themselves.
Character. People notice those who do what's right over what's easy.
Competency. People have confidence in those who stay fresh, relevant and capable.
Commitment. People believe in those who stand through adversity. In this instance, actions definitely speak louder than words.
Connection. People want to follow, buy from and be around friends. It's easier to trust a friend than a stranger, so look for ways to engage with people and build relationships.
Contribution. People immediately respond to results. By giving of yourself and your talents, you are investing in others.
Consistency. People love to see the little things done consistently.
Remember, it's not likely that you'll get just one big chance to be trusted. Instead, you'll have thousands of small ones. Just like a savings account, when you respond consistently you will see the results build up over time.