"Just trust me!" 🤢

Jul 20, 2023

“Just trust me…”

Seriously, I hate it when someone says that to me. 🤮

Invariably, it’s coming from someone you inherently know you shouldn’t trust!

Think used car salesman here.

But, in reality, so often the topic of trust comes up when discussing project development.

More accurately, the lack of trust that exists within and around our industry

As a result, I’d like us to take a look at trust… what it is, and what it takes to cultivate it…

First, what is trust?

In “The Speed of Trust” author Stephen Covey defines trust like this:

“Trust is a function of two things: character and competence.  Character includes your integrity, your motive, your intent with people.  Competence includes your capabilities, your skills, your results, your track record.”

Let’s break this definition down a bit.

In the context of a contract negotiation, I like to declare my intent by stating something like the following:

“My intent here is to establish a mutually beneficial contract with you, a true win-win.”

Then, follow up by declaring my motive:

“I want a win-win contract because in doing so we increase the likelihood of delivering a successful project for both parties.”

Don’t shy away from using these sentences verbatim. 

Do so, and you will see the person sitting across the table relax in their chair, relax their eyes and eyebrows, and changes the tone and tenor of their voice. 

Of course, you have to genuinely mean it.  If you don’t actually mean it, they will sense the fallacy in your words, and you’ll have done yourself a significant disservice.

This is where your integrity comes into the equation and rounds out the first half of Covey’s definition of trust in the “Character” department being intent, motive, and integrity. 

As a result, staying true to your word is paramount to cultivating trust. 

When you do, you not only increase your own self-confidence, but you also increase the confidence your counterparty has in you. 

We’ll talk about self-confidence in another post, but for now, know that increasing your trust in yourself is one third of the self-confidence equation.

Back to trust…

Consistently is key.  Be true to your word and do it on repeat.

“Consistency is the true foundation of trust. Either keep your promises or do not make them.”

- Roy T. Bennett

 In The Thin Book of Trust Charles Feltman teaches us to cultivate trust:

“by being intentional and consistent in your language and actions.”

It’s clear.  Consistency is key.

Another key component of trust relates to congruence.

Congruence in the sense of integrity – when there is no gap between intent and integrity. 

Its thorough this congruence that you will ultimately create credibility and create trust.

Put another way, people that are congruent “talk the talk and walk the walk”.

Let me share a share a story about Gandhi that really drives this point home.

Gandhi’s wife was once asked by a journalist how Gandhi could accomplish so much.

“Simple, Gandhi is congruent in regards to his speech, thought, and action…

…What Gandhi thinks, what he feels, what he says, and what he does are all the same. He does not need notes… You and I, we think one thing, feel another, say a third, and do a fourth, so we need notes and files to keep track.” 

This is the type of life I’m trying to live…

Finally, onto the second half of Covey's definition of trust and into Competence which, according to Covey includes “your capabilities, your skills, your results, your track record

For me, these are easier to demonstrate than your Character which is a bit more abstract.

Simply put, your results, speak for themselves.

Either you did the thing, or you didn’t.

Results are tangible.

And as a result, easier to demonstrate.

What do you think?

What do you do to cultivate trust in your relationships?

And what KILLS trust?

Let me know.

We are passionate about doing things better – no more horrifying industry statistics – there is a better way! Grab a time to meet with me 1:1 to discuss the unique challenges of your project.

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