Join John Ullmen for an in-depth discussion in this video Earn their trust every day, part of Executive Leadership.
I worked with an executive named Daniel from a leading investment bank who decided he wanted to start his own firm. He wanted to offer more transparency to his clients, and create a collaborative culture for people to work in. First, he had to relinquish all his clients to the investment bank and start fresh to try and re-engage those clients and new ones for him new firm. As for employees, he wanted to hire 16 people from the investment bank, but given regulations, and the urgency to get started immediately, he had a tight window to recruit them, so he invited all 16 people to a meeting at 4:30pm on a Friday, which was immediately after he officially severed ties with the investment bank.
He shared his vision with them for the first time, and he invited them to join. He said he'd understand if they said no, but there was literally not a day to lose because they had to wrap up that weekend, so if they were going to leave the investment bank and join his venture, they would need to decide, sign, and send the appropriate documents before 5pm. In other words, he asked 16 mature, extremely talented, accomplished professionals on 30 minutes notice to leave their stable, very well compensated, established positions in a world famous investment bank, to join a fledgling venture, which at that point had exactly zero clients and zero income.
All 16 said yes. They dropped everything to follow Daniel. Why? Because they trusted him. Because he earned their trust. In fact, he earned it long before he even considered starting his own firm. His consistent actions over time convinced them, beyond question, that their interest mattered to him, and he would come through for them. He earned the trust of his clients', too. Daniel says one of the things he's most proud of is what happened when he called his former clients and asked them for their business.
Well, previously under the auspices of that global, reputable investment back, he had several billion dollars from clients under management. After a round of calls to those same clients, he had regained the initial amount plus 50% more. These sophisticated, highly intelligent investors trusted him even more without the backing reputation and resources of a world famous firm. The employees voted with their feet and their futures. The clients voted with their hard earned income, and they were both right to trust Daniel.
His firm has grown sensationally since then, and he's racked up a consistent streak of awards in his industry year after year. If Daniel hadn't earned their trust long before he needed it, he, his employees, and his clients all would've lost out. None of this would've happened. Earning trust every day is the foundation of successful executive leadership. Whether they say it or not, a question on everyone's mind is, "Why should we follow you?" The best answer is, "Because we trust you." We trust you to look out for our best interest, to help us succeed, empower us to reach our goals, and do more than we thought we could.
To help us be proud of the meaningful work we've done. But there's only one way to gain it and keep it, and that's to earn it. Whether people trust us is 100% up to them based on the impact of our actions on them. When you build trust, everything goes better. When you damage it, everything gets worse. That's why Daniel's lesson applies to executive leaders in all organizations and industries. Here's what to do. In your interactions every day, take actions that increase the three key factors that build trust.
Reliability, credibility, and connection. Reliability. Be someone who can be counted on. Show up on time, be prepared, and overdeliver. Make commitments, and follow through. Close the loop on all expectations. If sometimes you fall short, do whatever it takes to make it right. Credibility. Bring value to the table. Know what you're supposed to know, and do what you're supposed to do. Learn all you can about your business and industry. Step up when you're needed.
Make your presence felt, and add value. Connection. Build repertoire and relationship with others. Learn something from them or about them every time you interact. Find out what matters to them, and help them get it. Listen, understand, and give. Do this every day, and you'll build strong trust, and like Daniel, when the day comes that you really need people to be there for you, you'll find they already have been all along.
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- Understanding the four disciplines of executive leadership
- Thinking strategically
- Creating shared purpose
- Inspiring confidence—even under pressure
- Motivating and communicating
- Establishing priorities and focus
- Leading change
- Developing yourself<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.