Can you recall a situation where someone trusts you in a risk situation?
In little time a strong bond builds between you both, possibly at remarkable speed. And it’s the same in the workplace…
Building trust in business is everything. But why is this the case, what forces are at play and how can you apply the experience and knowledge to your own entrepreneurial journey?
Hitchhikers constantly seek one person who will believe in them. And I remember how countless drivers passed me one autumn afternoon as I grew increasingly desperate in the fading light for a lift that would get me home. Rejection followed rejection. But eventually a car did pull over.
Being a young 17 year-old, I naively (but eagerly) held out my last £1 note to the smartly dressed driver as I got in. Wiser and older, he waved away my offer but happily became engrossed in a fascinating conversation about his life as we sped northwards up the motorway.
The total journey lasted no more than an hour; he went five miles out of his way to get me to my parent’s home; and in that time he talked to me in detail about how the sad death of his wife had affected his life. Long lonely and sleepless nights ultimately led him to an article about the ‘Driver of the Year’ competition which on a whim he decided to enter. Incredibly, only a few months later he was crowned ‘Veteran Driver of the Year’. I recall his driving was superb and when we said our goodbyes we were like best friends.
Critical to that meeting of minds and the speed at which things unfolded was the issue of trust. And underpinning the trust between us was a desire to give back to the other person because we both valued what was offered and wished to reciprocate.
In his excellent book ‘Influence: Science & Practice’, the author Robert Cialdini writes eloquently about the power of ‘Reciprocation’ and ‘Liking’ as highly influential forces. Giving first has powerful consequences but the potential value of such a gift only becomes fully apparent if the receiver really trusts you.
Speed of Trust
More recently, Stephen Covey has written ‘The Speed of Trust’ which is a truly ground-breaking piece of work. The author contends that Trust is at the heart of everything we do and once it is present, individuals and teams can achieve great things – very quickly (Covey refers to this as trust dividends). The opposite is true when there is a breakdown of trust (Covey refers to this as a trust tax).
Early on in his book, Covey even provides mathematical equations to demonstrate why trust can be gained at speed (as per the hitchhiking example). But he also explains in detail how and why our behaviour can destroy relationships faster than they were built. Understanding these principles is particularly important for those seeking to be effective salespeople.
Entrepreneurs who typically find greatest success are very good at building strong long-term relationships with many people. The glue that binds them together is the trust that they will behave consistently, congruently and reliably – in other words customers know they will provide their great service or products on-time and every time.
As an issue, ‘Trust’ sounds simple, yet making it really work for you is truly complex. But if you thumb through the pages of ‘The Speed of Trust’ and apply the recommendations Covey makes, I am certain you will get to where you want to be with your own project or business sooner than you think. And if you want to see how the power of trust works within an organisation, I strongly recommend you see this short film interview with a business owner – all work by the iconic and entrepreneurial film-maker Nic Askew.
Key Learning Points: Building trust in business is everything because it is at the heart of all the work we do with people. Understanding the key theoretical & practical principles that underpin this subject will accelerate you along your entrepreneurial journey.