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    The Trust Edge Blog

    Wednesday
    Oct222014

    The Impact of Compassion | Trust in Business

     

    Who do you trust more, firefighters or mortgage brokers? Librarians or lawyers? Nurses or salespeople? One of the biggest reasons for trust is the perception that someone is concerned beyond themselves for the good of the whole. Firefighters and nurses care for others by nature of their jobs. But we wonder if the salesperson really has our best interest in mind. Don’t worry if you are in a less trusted line of work. Resolve to be among the trusted in your field. Show that you think beyond yourself; you will be unique and successful in your industry. 

    Do not underestimate the bottom-line impact of compassion. The ability to show care, empathy, and compassion is a heavy component of trust. The ability is rooted in two long-standing virtues. The first is being able to “walk in someone else’s shoes” and understand things from his or her experience. The second is continually acting out, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” On a basic level, the link between care and trust is fundamental. The aphorism is true; “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” 

    Though Milton Freidman famously claimed in 1970 that the social responsibility of business is to increase profits, things have changed. Forty years later people want to do business with those who have concern for the whole of humanity. President and CEO of the world’s largest independent PR firm and trust researcher, Richard Edelman noted, “We’ve moved from a shareholder to a stakeholder world in which business must recast its role to act in the public’s interest as well as for private gain.”(www.edelman.com/trust/2009). Even Adam Smith, the father of modern economics, acknowledged that the ultimate goal of business is not to make a profit. “Profit is the reward one gets for serving the general welfare,” according to Author and Professor Walter Wink in his article Globilization and Empire: We Have Met the Evil Empire and it is US. 

    No matter your profession, challenge yourself to start thinking like the customer, patient, client, congregation member, or student. Think of their needs and their challenges. Care about THEM. Give them a great experience. Make them feel valued. Not only is it fun and self-gratifying, but it will also help you gain The Trust Edge

    Photo, with creative commons permission from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/99329675@N02/11064976153

    Wednesday
    Oct152014

    The Bottom Line Effect of Caring for Your Customers | Trust in Business

     

    Top sales people don’t just get to where they are because they make a lot of calls, or because they know the best closing techniques. In most cases, their clients have come to see them less as commission earners and more as trusted partners. In those relationships, when the customer recognizes they’re truly cared for, they show their satisfaction by buying again and again—and referring you to others. 

    A good friend of mine and the top sales person for one of the largest A+ mutual insurance companies in America is a very uncommon man. Not only does Scott provide exceptional service and a listening ear, but he also continually gives to his clients. He gives everything from note pads and pens to Harley Davidson Stereos. Every client who buys an insurance product gets flowers immediately. Not only is it his nature to give, but I bet it is hard for another agent to come in and undercut him when they have to peer over the vase of flowers on the counter. When he hears of any client or family of his client being sick, he sends more flowers. He even trusts them to use his condos on the beach. He doesn’t use them as a write-off, and he doesn’t charge the client. Don’t think Scott just became generous once he was successful. Before he had a beachside getaway, he had a heart for service and generosity. He shared one of his mantras with me, “Small deeds are far better than great intentions.” Scott considers his role to be a professional servant. He says, “When you serve others and care about them, it all comes back to you.” Why does this work? He thinks beyond himself in the most genuine way, treating his clients like friends. As a result, many of them have become friends.

    Of course people can show compassion for selfish reasons such as recognition or greed. People can “look” concerned when they are not, just like in Academy Award-winning Slumdog Millionaire. Two hungry orphan boys, Salim and Jamal, were living in a garbage heap when they were found by Maman, who seemed like a savior at the time. Maman fed the boys and took them to his orphanage with a playground. The boys soon learned that Maman only showed concern in order to own them and teach them how to be beggars on his behalf. But what happened to Maman? He got rich but was angry, stressed, and ultimately murdered by those who he had taken advantage of. The most powerful compassion is sincere. 

    Wednesday
    Oct012014

    Great Leaders Take Responsibility | Trust in Leadership

    I have seen time and again how the committed take responsibility for their actions. In our high-litigation culture, there’s always someone else to blame. It can be easy to point the finger at suppliers, underlings, partners, and managers that just can’t seem to get things right. I have yet to meet this mass of completely incompetent workers, which leads me to think we might be trying to steer some of the fault away from where it belongs–on ourselves. Deflecting blame is no way to build trust. Not only is owning up to our actions the right thing to do, but it can often overcome negative consequences. For an example, we needn’t look any farther than former Navy sub commander Scott Waddle, whose ship collided with a Japanese fishing boat, killing nine civilians. Although an investigation determined that some of his men had made errors, Captain Waddle took responsibility for the incident. While he was reprimanded for the accident, he has been largely regarded as a hero for taking full responsibility for his actions and the actions of his crew, never once diverting any criticism to them.

    Great leaders take responsibility. This lesson is hard for many to learn. Major League Baseball buried itself more deeply under a scandal surrounding the use of illegal steroids. As the media dug in its claws, an interesting trend emerged: The players who have been forthright with their wrongdoings have, by and large, been forgiven. In fact, a few have been praised for their integrity and candor. Imagine that a group of icons, shown to have broken the rules, are vindicated simply by coming clean. On the other hand, some players have been unwavering in their denials, even in the face of overwhelming evidence and testimony. Some may even face criminal and obstruction charges. While everyone has the right to clear his or her name if wrongly accused, being honest in the first place is the right thing to do.

    Wednesday
    Sep172014

    How to Build Trust Across Cultures and Diversities | Trust in Leadership

    In the 21st century, there's no doubt that each of us will spend considerable time interacting with those of a different culture (or other diversities). Trust-building isn't easy, and it can be especially daunting the more differences that are present. Here're some top tips and discussion questions from chapter 14 of The Trust Edge that can help. Consider printing this post to work on with your team this week.

    • Get to know people individually rather than stereotyping them. 
    • When there are cultural differences, be transparent. Let people get to know the real you. 
    • People are more likely to trust others who are like them, and less likely to trust those who are different.
    • Do the extra work to increase trust with those who are different from you. 
    • As a team leader, find common ground. 
    • Ignoring another culture’s feelings or customs leads to skepticism, not trust. 
    • Show people they can trust you, and most often they will. 
    • Making products overseas can be good business, but not if it costs you your reputation at home. 
     
    Discussion Questions 
     
    1. Are you open to learning the customs of your vendor or customer overseas? 
    __________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________ 
     
    2. If you had to travel overseas to a client or vendor, what kinds of things would you do or learn about in 
    preparation for the trip? 
    __________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________ 
     
    3. What does it look like to be humble across cultures? 
    __________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________ 
     
    4. What are the benefits and challenges of globalization? 
    __________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________ 
     
    5. How can your organization do more to earn trust internationally? 
    __________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________
    Photo courtesy of: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (https://www.flickr.com/photos/gsfc/12817275765)
    Wednesday
    Sep102014

    The Importance of Corporate Vision | Trust in Leadership

    I met an 88-year-old man named Orville at my health club, first noticing him one afternoon while checking in. I saw Orville sort of stumbling along behind me. I couldn’t believe my eyes. There was no way this man, slowly shuffling along the path to the gym, was going to work out! Orville patiently moved, inch by inch, into the weight-training area, picked up some dumbbells, and with an audible grunt, started his routine. 

    Then one day I happened to see him out of the corner of my eye stepping onto one of the treadmills. I was across the room, and he was already reaching for the start button. Too far away to help him, I just stood there and watched. As the treadmill came to life, Orville took one small step, and then another. The machine picked up speed, but miraculously, so did his legs. Within a minute, he hit full stride, running like a man half his age!

    At this point, the reality of the situation dawned on me. Orville’s problem wasn’t with his legs, it was with his vision. He couldn’t see where he was going. He shuffled along slowly, not because he couldn’t run, but because he was worried that he would knock his knee, shin, or toe on the nearest weight equipment.

    Though Orville did nothing to cause his vision problem, it is a powerful example of how limited we are when we lack clarity and vision. Being capable, but having no vision is poor stewardship. We, as individuals and organizations, can’t afford that. Without clarity, speed and meaningful action are impossible. With clear focus we not only become more efficient and effective, but we also build trust. Helen Keller, the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree, said, “The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight, but has no vision.”

    Few things inspire trust or hope like every member of a team working together towards a shared vision. A clear vision unifies and motivates. We see it in sports all the time. Certain teams, often lacking a big-name super star, seem to “gel” or “come together” at just the right moment. Often, when interviewed after the game, the players will comment on how focused they were on the common goal. When the players understand their role as well as the larger strategy and vision, the ground is fertile for success to grow. 

    If you are a leader in your organization, share your vision consistently. If you are not sharing your vision at least every thirty days, your team doesn’t know it. A clear vision inspires, unifies, and gives powerful focus.

    Photographer Credits to: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, https://www.flickr.com/photos/thejointstaff/13475263415

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