Trust – A Relationship Requirement
There are some requirements for humankind to work together, and one of them is trust. Plato described it as justice, one of the cardinal virtues all humankind desire for living a virtuous life. As you seek to partner with others individually or organizationally, determine the importance of trust to them. Your life will find a better flow to it if your relationships are built on trust.
Years ago, in my role as Chief Operating Officer for an automotive supply company, I had a confrontation with a Tier I supplier. We were a small startup, and the purchasing departments beat us up badly at the onset of negotiations. It was an ugly time in the automotive business when purchasing departments were rewarded for “givebacks” from suppliers. It came to a head when I got into a long conversation with one of our client’s purchasing agents who said, “the entire shipment of leather, every square foot is defective.”
We discussed the natural qualities and characteristics of leather and how it differed from vinyl. We had already given them a 15% discount to get our product introduced, and after 30 minutes or so, he said, “OK, if you can give us another 10% discount, we can use it.” How could he use it if “every square foot is defective”? He proved I could not trust him. That is when I knew I was in the wrong business. I had no interest in building relationships and partnering with people who controlled our company’s fiscal viability who I could not trust.
Another example of a lack of trust occurred when FS/A was asked by the Board of Directors of a financial firm to help them get their team on the same page. In a lengthy process of clarifying the organization’s identity, it was revealed that their sales agents would listen to co-workers’ calls and use that information to lure the client away from their colleague. Not surprisingly, when their Guiding Principles were developed as a part of the identity clarification process, they were void of Trust (Honesty, or Integrity). We worked with them for a year after which we were surprised to be released of our responsibility to support them. Six months later, they were out of business, leaving us with the most substantial unpaid bill in our history.
Biology of Trust
Dr. Judith Glaser, an organizational anthropologist and author of Conversational Intelligence, shares that great relationships are built on positive, respectful, and responsible communication that builds trust. Team members always cover our backs when we are not looking. Responsible, respectful, and trust-building actions produce oxytocin and serotonin, which make us feel safe and secure. This enables us to think creatively, openly, and productively and to be most effective by staying focused on addressing challenges and making a difference.
Simon Sinek has captured the essence of what we need in trusting relationships in this video. It is 2:22 long.
As you build trusting relationships, we would love to hear your stories, both rewarding and frustrating. Wishing you well on your growth journey…