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  • Susan Fletcher, Ph.D.

5 Ways to Kill Trust

I love the new Fruit and Maple Oatmeal at McDonald's! And even though McDonald's almost always gets my order correct when I drive-thru I have a habit of double checking my order before pulling out of the parking lot. Do you do this? I know it irritates the people waiting behind me but I've learned what can happen if I don't double check my order. The short iMovie video is an example. In Stephen M.R. Covey's book The Speed of Trust he states that, "When Trust goes up, speed will go up and costs will go down. Conversely, when Trust goes down, speed will go down and costs will go up." In my case, my lower Trust of the drive-thru reliability reduces the speed at which I leave the parking lot. The following are Trust Killers that can take you or your organization out of the Smart Zone:

  1. Acting "Large and In-Charge" by making sure everyone knows you are at the top of the pecking order. Trust is established whenever even the lowest paid or lowest ranked employee feels part of the team. This applies to your household, too. Aloof management is a trust killer. Stay in the Smart Zone by knowing the names of your employees and co-workers, honoring their family and personal beliefs, treating others with genuine respect, and giving credit where credit is due.

  2. Using incentives that aren't pure. One of my clients worked for a company where the team was financially rewarded for achieving zero accidents in a year. Did this encourage people to work safer or actually provide an incentive not to report accidents? This same principle applies to projects where the team is rewarded for an increase in sales or a decrease in costs. Make sure the incentive rewards the desired result fairly.

  3. Being inconsistent. I believe we judge ourselves by our intentions but judge others by their actions. Be mindful of what you say you are going to do and do what you say! No exceptions. People become confused by inconsistency. Keep these 13 Behaviors of Trust in mind to help with consistency.

  4. Lying. Duh! But people can lie inadvertently. They may misjudge their own abilities and make a promise they aren't physically or mentally able to keep. Telling half-truths or withholding necessary information is the fastest way to kill trust. The best way to rebound from this breach of trust is to right your wrongs quickly. Admit what happened, take responsibility for what you did and apologize. Check out these 2 words every CEO hates to say.

  5. Losing your sense of humor. Have fun! Laugh at the stupid things you do (believe me, your co-workers will!). You may feel the need to blame others for your silly mistakes or to get angry. But people will trust you more if you embrace the fact that we are all human. Think of the immediate sense of closeness you get with someone when you share a nice hearty laugh. For that moment it's like you are in sync with each other's thoughts.

Stay in the Smart Zone by keeping in mind that, "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it," according to Warren Buffet. People in the Smart Zone use their minutes wisely. If you are interested in booking me to speak at an upcoming meeting or conference please click here or email my Director of Client Relations, Zan Jones.

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