CEO Shoptalk – Trust, Building Trust

Trust? How does a CEO build and recognize trust?

Big Red Car here on a gray and gloomy day. Still, it’s the ATX and that’s fine by me.

Trust, Big Red Car? Where did that come from?

Trust defined

What exactly is trust, Big Red Car?

Trust is the reliance upon an individual based on their inherent integrity and proven ability. You could say it is confidence borne of competence, measured by results.

In situations projected into the future, it is a confident expectation which pre-supposes a positive outcome. Trust is hopeful.

The nature of trust

Trust is fragile. It takes years to build, but can be shattered in an instant.

The Boss once worked with a young person who he’d spent a lot of time and effort developing into an excellent executive. In a single act, the young man destroyed the trust they’d built and The Boss had to fire him. It was unfortunate.

Trust is transparent, meaning it is the product of seeing through a situation, the people involved, their motivations, their actions, and, ultimately, the results. If the team doesn’t know much about you or the plan, how can they trust you?

If you are opaque rather than transparent, you will struggle to build trust.

Trust is like the confluence of a number of great rivers — integrity, honesty, sound judgment, and, most important, results.

Honesty is the absence and freedom from deceit or fraud. It sleeps with truthfulness, sincerity, frankness, uprightness, and fairness.

Integrity is adherence to moral and ethical principles. It is a measure of moral character. It would not be unfair to suggest that integrity subsumes honesty, but I think it is slightly different.

You have heard me say that sound judgment is the product of experience and failure – the exercise of poor judgment.

Trust draws commitments. If you trust an institution, an organization, an individual, a leader, you are more likely to commit to their plan, their program, their lead.

This collective commitment is what creates organizational leverage which creates results.

Trust, Big Red Car, where do we get some?

You build trust, dear reader. You build it from a foundation into a superstructure and you enclose it with a relationship.

A CEO builds trust by creating a plan which is specific, measurable, attainable, reasonable, and constrained by time. Have no real plan? You will starve for trust.

The CEO communicates the plan to the team, giving the team the opportunity to buy into the plan (or to suggest revisions). Fail to communicate? No trust.

Then, the CEO keeps score and fairly rewards those who contribute to the attainment of the plan’s objectives in proportion to the value of their contribution. [Pro tip: This is why regular performance appraisal is so critical. It is a building block of trust.]

Whatever behaviors you reward will be repeated.

Does your team trust you? If not, why not? If so, why? Take action today.

Trust drives our businesses, our lives, our relationships. The bleeding edge truth of it is this — our relationships drive the quality of our lives. You want to improve the quality of your life, learn how to build trust within your relationships.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. Be good to your sweet selves.