It is imperative to improve trust to support business change. It is the first step to success and you can never have too much of it. A lack of trust leads to real problems and undermines change. Trust needs to be a focus at every level of the business. All organizations consist of people who must relate to one another. The most important component of any relationship is trust.
In this third blog in the series, Building Trust and Embracing Change, I want to consider the personal approach to improve trust to support business change. The choice to trust may be conscious or subconscious. Conscious trust is a deliberate decision to place your confidence in the object of your trust. This is typically dependent upon your experience. Subconscious trust often occurs after a personâ€™s experience with the object of their trust over time. After many reliable experiences, trust is established without having to constantly think about it. Consider the chair you are sitting in or the floor you are standing on. Is this the first chair, or floor, you experienced?
Brands, customer and employee experience, and reputations are components of company trust. All trust is relational. It comes down to your relationship with it. During a stint in the retail world, management clearly stated that we were to treat the customer well. It cost far more to win back a disgruntled customer than to win a new one. This piece of education provides a simple reminder about how important it is to earn and retain trust. When times of change come, a history of trust will make it much easier.
You can earn trust and re-earn it if it is lost. Most people want to trust others, but far too many have memories of bad experiences that keep them from fully trusting again. In actuality, withholding trust may provide protection from those who would do you damage. It also limits your possibilities because of your inability to trust. Knowing who and what to trust may take some personal discretion, but it is also something to build before a season of change.
Business change always requires trust from employees and trust-worthy leadership. Both have a responsibility to the organization, each other, and themselves.
- The organization deserves your trust. Yes, I really said it. If you take a paycheck, it is your duty. If there are issues that create a lack of trust, you should consider whether you fit the company culture or not. Many companies are trying to hire for culture. If you do not fit the culture, it is a good reason to make a change. Companies operate in highly regulated environments and potentially subject to the whim of every person with a grudge and a video camera. If someone is going to take a shot at you, try to draw small targets by instilling trust.
- Others deserve your trust, at least until they lose it. It is a two-way street. There are many levels of trust. Some start shallow and resemble thin ice and others are as strong as an iron beam. When people build trust, it always requires a positive experience over time. The time may go fast or take a long time to develop. The key is their consistent experience with your trustworthiness, transparency, honesty, and authenticity. Rebuilding trust usually starts with forgives, both sought and given.
- A final major threat to trust is us. When we do not trust ourselves, it is difficult for others to trust us. This usually shows up in a lack of self-confidence. This condition goes by many names including: poor identity, poor self-image, shiftiness, craftiness, downtrodden. These behaviors give people reasons not to trust you. If you will not invest in yourself to get past these behaviors, how can you expect someone else to invest in you? Our ability to trust ourselves comes back to what we see in the mirror.
Trust is basic to change. Without it, the ability to execute and embrace change is much more difficult. Improve trust to support business change by actively cultivating it on a daily basis.
What are some strategies you use to improve trust?