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Lets take a look at how trust can affect your organization and your success. When trust is present in an organization, wow, the benefits are remarkable. A wide range of studies link trust to bottom line business results. Things like better stock market performance, increased speed and heightened creativity. Trust decreases turnover and cost of doing business. Because communication is open, there are fewer rumors.
People waste less energy playing games and instead they focus on their goals, which means; fortune 500s, mom and pop shops, sales forces, sports teams, non profits, for profits. All organizations experience more success if they have high trust profiles. Obviously trust matters to our organizations. But what about you personally? What does trust mean for you? Legendary leaders are quick to recognize the critical role trust plays in working relationships and career success.
Listen to what a few such leaders have to say on the subject of trust. Warren Buffet, who is a brilliant investor and is consistently ranked one of the world's wealthiest people, wrote, trust is like the air we breathe- when it's present, nobody really notices; when it's absent, everybody notices. Edward R Murrow, the famous American journalist, wrote, to be persuasive, we must be believable; to be believable, we must be credible; to be credible, we must be truthful.
That one line can teach us a lot about trust. And finally, John Pepper, former CEO of Proctor and Gamble, once said that trust transcends everything, it is the glue which keeps everything together. Trust is the most powerful of motivators. If you know that I trust you, you're stuck! You dare not let me down! Still, despite its powerful benefit, trust is the single hardest quality to create in any organization.
And it's fragile. John couldn't be more right. Trust matters and it's hard to win. Survey results differ slightly, but in the best of scenarios 74% of employees trust their supervisors. In other studies, that figure drops as low as 66%. And one firm found that only 48% of employees trust their leaders. Trust does not come easily. And yet trust is, or at least it should be, treated like a company asset.
Trust should be protected just like you protect your trademarks, your patents, brand, intellectual capital or high-tech equipment. Think of things your company considers highly valuable. What would it look like to add trust to that list? Let's take a moment, and apply all of this directly to you. I'd like for you to think of a specific situation or relationship in your work life where credibility and trust, or maybe a lack of credibility and trust could affect your career.
Think of someone who doesn't trust you, but has some influence over your career. You may not have done anything to violate trust, but for whatever reason this person just doesn't trust you yet, or maybe think of a project or a team; where increased trust would affect some of those bottom line performance issues; speed, cost, turnover. You are looking for a situation where a higher degree of trust, one way or both ways, would make your life easier or less stressful.
For example, I'm going to start teaching a brand new class at the university where I work. The course is integrated into an existing course that has been around for years, it's very successful, and has been taught by the same prof forever. I need to earn the trust of that instructor. So my action plan looks something like this. Whose trust do I need to earn? Professor Li. Does Professor Li have reason to trust me? He might have seen me get a teaching award at a meeting, or maybe he's heard about me from colleagues, but we've never actually worked together.
Does Professor Li have any reason not to trust me? Hm. That's interesting. The class that mine is replacing wasn't great, so he might worry that this one isn't any better. And finally how would it benefit me to earn his trust? Oh, gosh. He'd give me time on his calendar. He'd cooperate. He'd collaborate on assignments. And if he really trusts me, he might speak highly of me to my new students, whose trust I also have to earn.
Take a few notes about your person, relationship or situation, using the trust building action plan. And then keep those notes handy as we begin our exploration of the three circles of trust. As you've seen already, trust can make an incredible difference to your workplace, and to your career.
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