In my recent post I discussed how it is vital to establish trust so that success can be achieved. But what does trust look like?
When considering how to build trust with your customers, suppliers and employees, we need to understand what trust looks like so that we can build it within our business.
The first pillar of trust is character and this is the pillar of trust we commonly think of when we consider trust. Is this person a trustworthy person? In business, we make judgements about people and organisations at to whether we believe that they are being sincere and we decide accordingly how we wish to interact with them.
A key element of this pillar of trust is our integrity. Do we do what we say we will do? This is about walking the walk, not just talking the talk. If we don't, we will be seen as dishonest and lacking integrity.
Character-based trust also includes our overall sincerity and our intent. If others see us as being disingenuous then trust cannot be established.
Character-based trust is inherent, it is who we are. However, it takes time to establish as others have to learn who you are and it can very quickly be destroyed. Think of betrayal in marriage and how quickly a trust based relationship can be turned upside down. When character-based trust is destroyed, it can take a very long time to (and sometimes we will never be able to) re-establish.
The second pillar of trust is capability. We trust people because we believe they are capable of performing the task, producing the goods or providing the service.
Capability needs to be backed up by knowledge and results. We need to have a proven track record and through that, we learn to trust the capability of organisations or people.
Capability based trust is situational. I might trust my hairdresser to give me a good cut but I wouldn't trust them to do heart surgery. Capability-based trust may also be more steady. If you have a good track record of delivering, then one misfortune is not likely to do too much damage. However, capability-based trust will be eroded over time if you cannot keep up with the pace and the quality expected in the market.
Two Sides of the Coin
To establish trust, we need to have both pillars of trust present.
For example, consider this scenario: my brother might be a reckless driver. I wouldn't trust him to drive my new expensive car. It is not that I don't trust his character but rather in this situation, he simply doesn't have the skill. There is a lack of capability-based trust. However, if you brought me a randomly selected good driver from the street, I am not going to just hand over my car keys. I don't know who he is and character-based trust has not yet been established. Both pillars of trust have to be present.
In my previous post, I suggested that the lack of trust always costs time and money. If you want to save time and money in your business you need to establish trust and you must consider both pillars. They are two sides of the same coin. Only when we do that, can we establish trust and help our business achieve success.