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    The Trust Edge Blog


    Own Your Day | The Daily Edge


    Have you ever reached the end of a day and felt like you got nothing done? It’s a horrible feeling! Frustrating days like this leave us with a laundry list of people and circumstances that caused our unproductivity. Rewind the clock to your morning coffee and write down your current #1 push forward priority. Then write the numbers 1-5 and list the five most important tasks you can complete in order to come closer to accomplishing your goal. If you could do the frustrating day over again, chances are you would handle your meetings, conversations, and even your individual work time differently. A day in which you accomplished five specific tasks that brought you one step closer to an important goal is a great day.  

    This tip, called Difference-Making Actions, doesn’t allow for anything but clarity. It seems incredibly simple, but it’s only simple if you do it. Try doing it every day for two weeks and see the impact of taking control of your day. From salespeople and marketers to executives and middle managers, this strategy has helped people drill down to absolute clarity. Here’s the one essential element to the DMA strategy, they must be specific and measureable. In order for something to be measureable, it has to have a number attached to it.

    For example: A salesperson who wants to make $10,000 in commission every month might know from experience that she will need to find four new clients. And to find those four new clients, she needs to set one appointment each day, which she should be able to do by making 20 sales calls each day. She now has a strong DMA: Make 20 sales calls each morning with the goal of setting one new appointment each day. By making this the most important part of her day, the salesperson can focus on that goal without being distracted by incoming phone calls, meetings, and other items that are urgent, but less important.

    Productivity is good, but balance is important too. We all know someone who is ultra-productive, expects everyone else to be ultra-productive, and doesn’t care one bit about you as a person. It’s all about maximizing the efficiency of each working day, but not at the expense of relationships. So, try the DMA strategy. Give it a test run. You, your colleagues and boss will see the results! Time is a most valuable resource. Spend it wisely. Spend it doing good, productive work. When you make every day a productive day, while still valuing rela­tionships, you have succeeded!


    Commitment to Quality | Trust in Business

    Is your organization trusted for its commitment to quality? If there's room for improvement, you might consider reading Philip Crosby's 1979 classic Quality is Free. 

    The main points and why it matters:
    • Crosby sees quality not just as a set of procedures but a way of doing things - a management philosophy that starts with leadership.
    • Many organizations value quality, but they have little-to-no agreed upon measurement system.
    • Most know the cost of quality in their particular group, but not for their organization. Crosby's research found that organization's unaware of their quality costs had actual costs of 20% of sales.
    • He offers this 14-Step Quality Improvement Program, which he expands on in his book.
    1. Management Commitment
    2. Quality Improvement Team
    3. Quality Measurement
    4. Cost of Quality Evaluation
    5. Quality Awareness
    6. Corrective Action
    7. Establish an Ad Hoc Committee for the Zero Defects Program
    8. Supervisor Training
    9. Zero Defects Day
    10. Goal Setting
    11. Error Cause Removal
    12. Recognition - Awards Program
    13. Quality Councils
    14. Do It Over Again

    Interaction with the 8 Pillars of Trust

    • Implementing quality is free begins with the clarity pillar. Leaders must become clear on what they see as quality. Then, the leadership teams must agree on what quality means, how to measure it, and the plan to develop it. It also ends with clarity, as the entire organization becomes clear on a mindset for quality.
    • Quality is often perceived by users as a measure or indicator of an organizations character. If they consistently show high quality, we assume they have high integrity. If we see lapses or discrepancies through an organization's services or function, they can be seen as having low character. And, if their standards for quality have negative impact on people, we question the other side of character - their morality.
    • Low quality or inconsistent quality steers employees and customers away in many circumstances, because of a perception of competence. Who wants to buy hire a lawyer that wins few cases?
    • Organizations that consistently deliver high quality are known for it. We see them as having a commitment to quality. Think of Ritz-Carlton. Their brand speaks of excellence of quality because it's experienced throughout the world at their hotels. We know the people that work there have a mindset that's committed to the maximum quality of your stay.
    • The more commitment to quality, the more growth through the quality stages, and the further on in the stages, the more money saved. Those who are committed to preventing errors in customer and product requirements save on money, time, and brain damage. You can imagine the mad scramble of fire fighters when wind spreads fire to another direction in a forest. This reactionary style which young and old companies have, can be prevented with a clear quality program. If your company lacks one, it could be something to consider.

    Prioritize to Be Most Effective | Trust in Business


    While I agree with Ben Franklin’s idea, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” countless companies have wasted time and money on strategic plans that are collecting dust. People spend lots of time planning but very little time turning those plans into daily actionable tasks. Some suggest that putting your goal in the mirror so you see it every day will make it come true. I would suggest that your mission statement belongs on your mirror, and your goals and tasks associated with achieving your mission are meant for action. Daily clarity leads to accomplishing the most important things every day. Difference Making Actions (DMAs) are the best way I have found to be clear on a daily basis. They will keep you from having a day where you feel like you are busy but getting nothing done. The following idea comes from Charles Schwab, the first American to be paid a million dollar salary.

    In the early 1900s, Schwab was President of the Bethlehem Steel Company. The small steel company was struggling. A business consultant named Ivy Lee told Schwab that he could share in 15 minutes a strategy with Schwab’s managers that would double productivity. When Schwab inquired about the price for the help, Lee said, “After using it for six months, you can pay me what you think its worth.”

    Here’s what Ivy Lee told Charles Schwab and his managers: “Every night, at the end of each day, write down the six most important things that need to get done the next day. Write only six, no more. Prioritize them with number one being the most important. In the morning, start with number one and do only number one until it is completed. Do not go on to number 2 until number one is completed. When number one is completed go on to number 2, then do only number 2 until it is completed. And so on. If you get done with all of them you can start a new list.”

    Only a few months passed when Mr. Lee received a letter from the Bethlehem Steel Company. Inside the envelope, Mr. Lee found a check in the amount of $25,000 ($250,000 in today’s dollars) and a note from Schwab saying the lesson was the most profitable he had ever learned. The voluntary payment to Mr. Lee was quite a bargain considering that Bethlehem Steel went on to become one of the giants in the steel industry and one of the most successful corporations in U.S. history.

    How to Implement the DMA Strategy:

    1. First thing every morning, take a sticky note.
    2. At the top write your most important current goal.
    3. Then write the numbers 1-5 down the page.
    4. Next to the 1, write the most important thing you could do today to accomplish that goal. Then write the next most important things under 2, 3, 4 and 5.

    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. 

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    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
    • 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.

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