In the world of business today, trust is more important than ever, especially when it comes to your relationships with your clients, customers, employees, and all stakeholders in your business. But what do we mean by trust. Webster’s dictionary defines trust as the assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something. Your Strategic Thinking Business Coach believes that trust is right at the foundation of the survival and success of any business. Without trust there can be no sustainable business. Trust is a strategically critical issue in any type of relationship because a relationship without trust is not really a relationship at all. Over the long-term, business success is dependent upon a network of positive relationships. Trust is invariably the critical component in enhancing business relationships. The moment a person is not trusted by an individual or team, their chances for success within that group are diminished dramatically.
One of the major challenges and problems facing businesses today is the building of trust internally among the employees, management and ownership to create a healthy and productive work environment. Research has shown that trust is the basis for creating healthy work environments because it forms the foundation for effective communications, associate retention, motivation, and contributions of discretionary energy (from Susan Heathfield, Trust Rules! The most important secret. 2002a).
Your working relationships that have been built on trust are an important sustainable competitive advantage because trust is so valuable and so rare. The level of trust a leader is able to achieve with his or her associates is contingent upon the associate’s perceptions of the leader’s ability, honesty, and integrity. A study that was conducted to determine whether trust could be a source of competitive advantage. That study showed that trust is significantly related to sales, profits, and turnover. The study also concluded that “the ability of a general manager to earn higher trust from her or his employees likely creates a competitive advantage for a firm over its rivals.”
There are certain components of trust that every client, customer or other stakeholder in your business looks for in doing business with you. There are several levels of trust and I have chosen five (5) to present in this article. A first level of trust is trust in technical competence and know how. Clients and customers are looking for someone whose level of competence inspires trust. A statement like “Just trust me!” is woefully inadequate in today’s world. There is an obligation and a duty for you to provide explanations that are clear and concise and not overly simplistic.
A second level of trust is trust in ethical conduct and character. Your reputation is paramount and your honesty and integrity must be impeccable.
A third level of trust is trust in your interpersonal skills and relationship. You must ensure that your clients and customers believe that if they tell you something about themselves, their business or any sensitive information, you will handle it with the utmost respect and confidentiality.
A fourth level of trust is trust in you being transparent and open in your business relationship. A lack of transparency will make you much more vulnerable to damaging your business relationship.
A fifth level of trust is trust in you being a “person of your word” and holding yourself accountable in all actions within your business relationships.
Your Strategic Thinking Business Coach encourages you to fully realize the benefits of business coaching to strategically build trust within all your business relationships. If you would like to learn more about how a strategic thinking business coach can facilitate and guide you in that endeavor, please contact.