Trust As Execution Advantage

Some time ago, your Big Red Car discussed “execution advantage” as the trait of elite organizations.

Execution Advantage

Today, we speak of TRUST not as an emotion or a feeling, but as an element of execution advantage.

Let me discuss some real world examples.

Army Trust

Back in the day, when I was in the Army, we would pay the troops in cash on payday. Young officers (company commanders, Captains) went to the Finance shack and drew money to pay the troops.

You received a stack of checks and a pile of money. You counted out the money to match the checks, paper clipped the money to the check. You were armed and had an armed bodyguard plus an armed Jeep driver. When I was overseas, a local national tried to rob me, but an alert bodyguard gunned him down. I was asleep in the front seat, freezing my ass off under about seven layers of clothing. The Jeep driver kept driving.

Hopefully, the amount of money they gave you matched the amount of money to be paid out. If it didn’t you and a Finance sergeant counted it again and again. Everything had to balance.

I used to do this at 2-3 AM because my deal was payday, inspection, breakfast — rest of the day off. If I did it early, the men got a longer day off.

When a man reported for pay, he was wearing his Class A uniform. He reported in, saluted, and he would say, “Private First Class Jones reporting for pay, sir.”

You would hand him his pay stub, he would examine it, and you would count out his money. On his pay stub would be any collections such as an allotment going to his wife.

Invariably, some percentage of the men’s pay would be screwed up. I promised my troopers — sometimes as many as 400 — I would never leave until their pay was straight. Sometimes, I would call the Finance officer, send a man with a sergeant, and let them take my jeep. Sometimes, I would have to go down there if they couldn’t get it straight. But, nobody went to bed that night with their pay screwed up.

[I also used to use the opportunity to ask the men if they had any other problems. One time a soldier told me he had “found” two forty-five caliber pistols. I confiscated them.]

Nothing in the Army manuals said I had to do this, but it was something my father (retired career Army) had told me was done in the “brown boot” Army, so¬† I did it.

The troops loved it. This built trust. It was a kind of trust that I could convert into some other form of goodwill that was fungible.


I watched a company in a fairly mundane service business build itself into a powerhouse as it realized that what it really did was enter people’s homes on a trust basis.

They took pest control and grew it into lawn care, pool service, electrical contracting, HVAC contracting, and general carpentry work.

The driver of their growth was the fact that their core value proposition was trust. They diligently delivered on their trust proposition by building a very professional, uniformed team.

I will not belabor the issue further, but suggest that the issue of “trust” can be developed into an important element of execution advantage while not abandoning its characteristics as an emotion or feeling.

Think about how your business can weaponize trust to grow your business.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. Happy New Year, y’all! 2019 is going to be your year.