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    The Trust Edge Blog

    Wednesday
    Jan142015

    Trust is a Business Asset | Trust in Business

    The impact of trust on the economy can be witnessed at the corporate level. Bear Stearns, AIG, and Lehman Brothers were at one time considered trust-based businesses. Each of these companies relied on the trust of the market to establish the firm’s value. As trust goes down, value goes down. For instance, the $236 million purchase proposal for Bear Stearns by JP Morgan Chase came just hours after Bear Stearns’ market capitalization was $3 billion. Interestingly, just over a year ago that market cap was $20 billion. As trust in the market tanks, so does the value of the business.

    Bill Otis, former Chief of the Appellate Division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, offered this analysis: “Our ability to bail our way out of this recession is extremely limited, because, even if they worked and could be paid for, bailouts and government spending generally fail to address the fundamental problem at the heart of our difficulties. The fundamental problem is not liquidity or even solvency. It is trust—or more correctly, the lack of trust—that has spawned the breakdown in the credit markets. The lack of trust cannot be remedied with money. It can only be remedied with that which creates trust.”

    Though our trust has been shaken in America during this economic crisis, we still enjoy a level of trust that is not enjoyed in all parts of the world. A business professor and friend of mine, Leo Gabriel, was asked by a native of a small war-torn, developing country, “Why does capitalism work in America and not here?” Gabriel said, “Because, generally, we can assume trust in our economic system.” In America we can go online, order a product, and assume it will be shipped. The retailer can generally assume that he will be paid. Without trust there cannot be economic activity. You must be able to put trust in your cash, check, or credit to have value and be good. A retailer must know that the product or service will be delivered from the supplier as expected. With greater trust comes greater economic activity and a better form of capitalism. 

    Image courtesy of: https://www.flickr.com/photos/epsos/8474532085

    Wednesday
    Jan072015

    How to Improve Conference Calls | Trust in Business

    Have you noticed that the further from face-to-face we get the more challenging it is to build trust? Here's a favorite from 2014 that illustrates.

    Tips for improved productivity and trust with your calls:

    • Consider if it'd be more efficient to use group emailing or video-conferencing instead.
    • Use a reliable system, like your phone company's service or freeconferencecall.com.
    • Test the connection with a colleague prior to the scheduled meeting time.
    • Record the call so anyone that experience techical difficulties can listen to the part they missed while not slowing down the rest.
    • If it's a longer call, have someone take bullet-pointed notes to email to everyone after the call is over.
    • At the beginning of the call, try to make quick introductions, if possible.
    • Email an agenda so others know what to expect or to bring clarity for yourself. 
    • Keep each part of the call as short as possible.
    • Pause occasionally and ask if everyone is on the same page.
    • Remember to use the mute button while making excess noise.
    • Avoid speaker phone to avoid extra noice to the others.
    • Think about getting a headset, so you can use your hands to type or write notes.
    • Create a questions section so you don't interrupt flow but also don't forget important point of clarification.
    • Wrap-up the call with a summary and assignments for the next steps.
    Thursday
    Jan012015

    Being Clear With Expectations | Trust in Business

     

    Few things are as frustrating as working for a manager who gives you an annual review and tells you all the things she thinks you should have been doing during the past year. How is this information helpful now? The year is over. Why weren’t these expectations expressed earlier? If you are a parent, you know how important it is to communicate expectations with your child. So often, a clear communication of expectations will prevent both misbehavior and failure. 

    As little sense as it makes, I hear about similar situations all the time. Supervisors need to be clear about their expectations. This is true in my own company. When I’m specific with my requests about what I want, I almost always receive what I asked for. When I’m vague in my requests, I typically receive something other than what I had in mind.

    If you’re in charge of leading your group or even a company, consider whether you’re communicating specific expectations effectively. Of course, micromanagement is a supreme trust killer, not to mention a spectacular waste of time. But in most cases, if you are clear about the outcome in mind, it will get done, sometimes even beyond your expectations. 

    My new marketing director was feeling overwhelmed and losing motivation. I could see it. When I inquired, she said she felt like there was so much to do but didn’t know what to do first. Once we clarified priorities and expectations, her motivation, effectiveness, and enthusiasm returned. As her leader, helping her work through this was my responsibility. 

    If you work for someone who is vague about what they want, spend a few minutes talking with him or her about your work. Find out expectations, including the appropriate deadlines and priorities. If it isn’t possible to finish everything on your plate at once, figure out what’s most important. You’ll foster greater trust and a more productive workplace at the same time. Visit us at www.TheTrustEdge.comto learn more about leadership, trust, and productivity.

    Photo courtesy of: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http%3A%2F%2Fupload.wikimedia.org%2Fwikipedia%2Fcommons%2F6%2F64%2FBundesarchiv_Bild_183-G0925-0036-001%2C_Chemiefaserwerk_Guben%2C_Meister_der_Zentralwerkstatt.jpg&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FApprenticeship&h=603&w=800&tbnid=tmlr9nrRKUCPDM%3A&zoom=1&docid=Wf-9YcHeCwIvQM&ei=QZyZVKqwFpOTyAT-l4CYAw&tbm=isch&ved=0CB8QMygBMAE&iact=rc&uact=3&dur=325&page=1&start=0&ndsp=19

    Wednesday
    Dec172014

    Insincere Apologies are Trust Killers | Trust in Leadership

     

    I had a chance to sit down with the CEO of Compass Strategic Investments. For six months, he lived and worked in the Netherlands, so he had some cultural observations to share. One of the distinctions that he noticed was that Americans often make insincere apologies. When it comes to building trust, being able to say we’re sorry and doing it sincerely is an important skill. However insincere apologies, those made out of habit or indifference, are trust killers. 

    Expressing remorse without any real intent to change comes off as insulting or dismissive, like someone who always comes late to a meeting and says, “I’m sorry I’m late.” The likely truth is she never really intended to be on time. No one believes her apology, and so she is not trusted. 
    Do you mean what you say? Whether it is “I am sorry” or, “I will get back to you ASAP,” if you can’t follow through, don’t say it. Make sure you return calls when you say you will and deliver when you say you will. If your intent is good, your words will mean something and you won’t have to apologize very often. It’s like a mother who says “No” to her child at the candy counter repeatedly with ever increasing volume and intensity. Because the mother has given in to her child’s badgering in the past, the child does not trust that Mom means what she says.

    The problem also happens when people apologize even though they are not really sorry for what they did. They are only sorry that they got caught. Learning to apologize is only part of it. Doing it sincerely and with genuine intentions is the real test. The next time you feel an apology is in order, ask yourself, Am I sorry to the degree that I am genuinely going to try to make sure it does not happen again? Do I really mean it? Of course it is important to apologize, but so is the action that shows you meant it. Those who only need to apologize occasionally, and do it sincerely, will be trusted.

    Picture courtesy of: https://www.flickr.com/photos/25792994@N04/5667529239

    Thursday
    Dec112014

    Godin & Sackner-Bernstein on Contribution | Trust in Leadership

    What does age have to do with being a big contributor?

    Einstein said if you don't make a major impact in your industry before 30, you probably won't.

    Sackner-Bernstein shows research that disproves this, showing how previous similar explanations were based on a lesser understanding of the brain. In a nutshell, age is an advantage and we must not use anything to let ourselves off the hook for making a difference in society.

     

     

    Read and watch here.

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