Do you embrace the trust triangle with a track record of consistently delivering what you promised, every time, over time? Are you impeccable with your word?
What is your track record of delivering what you promised? How good is your image “out there” as one who always does what you said you would? Reliably? Consistently?
I consider this track record as one of our most valuable personal assets in business today – be it as an employee, contractor or consultant. Shouldn’t it be part of your “calling card”? Part of what you are known for?
Trust and respect
In my trust and respect training module, I suggest that first respect, then trust have to be earned over a period of time. I also propose that it is usually bi-directional if there is to be a lasting relationship. Whilst it wasn’t always that way, over time I have learned to respect and trust others until they give me a reason not to. I would pose the question here though, whether this respect and trust can exist between two organisations or whether it is based on that relationship between individuals of those organisations? What do you think?
Elements of The Trust Triangle.
- This trust and respect between two parties forms one fundamental component of the trust triangle, namely your value proposition to another party you already work with.
- The second is the same relationship those persons have with others they have developed.
- Together they form the basis of the extendibility of this same trust and respect towards a third party.
For example, John is an accountant and James is a real estate agent. They have a working or business relationship that has earned each other’s trust and respect over a period of time. Each knows that the other can be consistently relied upon to “deliver the goods” expected of them.
Each of them will have similar relationships with other people, where they have earned each other’s trust and respect over a period of time. For example, John has developed that same sort of relationship with Peter, who is a financial planner, over a period of time. They trust and respect each other and know each is good for their word. This makes up the second fundamental component of the trust triangle.
The final component that “closes” the triangle is when John refers James to Peter, who is looking to buy an investment property, for instance. In doing so John extends the same trust and respect he and James have to Peter.
Without this link, Peter wouldn’t know whether he can trust James. However, through the trust triangle Peter can expect to trust James without knowing him at all. Why: Because John “vouches” for him. Based on their relationship John wouldn’t refer a “dill” to Peter, would he? Why: Because that would undermine that trust relationship that has taken some time to develop. Peter can safely rely on John’s judgement and assume the same degree of trusted expectation of James’ services without the risk of trial and error.
Of course all this is based on one further fundamental, and that is that naturally this all only keeps working if everyone delivers to the standard they say they will.
Breaking The Trust Triangle
The trust and respect earned over time can so easily be broken when one party lets the other one down. Whilst this can occur from time to time, often due to circumstances difficult to control, the way in which this error is dealt with and rectified is then critical. Good faith is assumed and expected. The error is treated responsibly and taken seriously. All parties know and understand that in business “these things can happen”. However if it was quickly and satisfactorily resolved, the trust and respect continues to grow.
If this were not the case, and the problem left to fester without resolution, this would probably have ramifications for all three relationships. If James were to do a lousy job looking after Peter’s requirements that would not only reflect badly on James, it would also reflect badly on John. Peter certainly wouldn’t refer James’ real estate work to anyone else, would he? And he would probably question John’s judgement and perhaps be a little more cautious when next John referred someone to him.
Word of mouth.
In my networking training I strongly emphasize one of the realities of successful networking to be whether you just “talk the talk” or really “walk the walk”. Word of mouth endorsements are the best you can get, but they only work if your referral partner respects and trusts that you can deliver what you say you do. Break that trust and things “stop coming around”. Bad news travels fast so don’t expect referrals or endorsements if you don’t consistently deliver the goods.
I’d like to have you check in with yourself at this point and staying with the 11th commandment assess how aware you are of your track record and how you think that stacks up in your ongoing dealings within the above trust triangle? Are you known for “consistently delivering the goods”? I like to suggest we get known to reliably under promise and over deliver. That is to continuously exceed expectations. Can you honestly say that about your ongoing track record in all that you do in your life and your work? Sounds like a tall order, doesn’t it? Of course we are human and of course we sometimes screw up, don’t we? However, if you have now become more aware of this attitude, perhaps you can set some goals to raise your track record to another level, whatever it is right now.
What if you could?
I wish you much enjoyment and much success with that pursuit. I can (almost) guarantee that it will be worth it.