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Success Thought of the Day – 7/18/18: The Trust Ingredient

A critical ingredient which binds a customer to a brand is trust. – Bernard Kelvin Cline

Last week, in my capacity as an Executive in Residence at the Kellogg School of Management, I had the opportunity to speak to the EMBA cohort in Miami.  Big shout out to EMP 111.  Thank you, guys, for being such a great group to hang out with for a few.  During that time, I spoke about our roles as leaders in creating the company culture, which naturally surfaced a discussion around the trust ingredient.

Back to the point of the quote.  We all have a personal brand, and, in that context, particularly in a business environment, everyone is a customer.

The Trust Ingredient

“Back in the day,” if I’m even allowed to say that, I remember phrases such as “trust is built over time with tiny deposits.”  While I don’t hear those phrases used as often anymore, we know that it matters.  Perhaps a huge difference today is that we are more collaborative than ever before.  Therefore, in the business environment, we have an almost immediate need to trust each other.

Ways to Build Trust

Please forgive me if this appears rudimentary, but let’s not assume that everyone knows how to build trust in a business environment. Below are a few tips to get started with:

  • Company Alignment: Operate in alignment with the company vision, mission, objectives, and goals.  If you don’t know and understand them – get them, read them and have someone (e.g. your supervisor, manager, etc.) clarify them so you know them.   If they do not resonate with your core values and such, discuss that openly and resolve immediately.  Do not let this go unresolved – that doesn’t work.
  • Be a Team Player: Operate in the spirit of team Interests over self-interests, understanding your role on the team, how it fits with others and ensure you are adding value.  Seek ways to deliver beyond expectations on the team.
  • Openly share information with others. As you read things, attend conferences, etc., share what you learn for the benefit of others.
  • Avoid gossip and non-value-added conversations about others. Litmus test – – if the conversation is not positive about the person or is critical in tone, but not about how you are going to go help the person, give it a second thought.
  • Deliver consistently: Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Accept assignments with your eyes wide-open, ensuring you can deliver OTOBOS (On time, On Budget, On Scope) and don’t miss the mark.  This is critical for your reputation.
  • Use informal time: We all need to eat, use those times to genuinely get to know your colleagues. Whether breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack or whatever.  Find times to have casual conversations with collogues.  Time spent deepening relationships matters over the long haul.
  • GASHAC: This was advice given to me by my manager, Lisa Neal-Graves (hi Lisa!) when I joined JPMorgan Chase in 2000 and I remember it dearly.   The acronym stands for Give A (fill in the blank), Have A Clue.  In other words.  CARE.  Pay attention to people.  Look out for things such as non-verbal cues, what is not said, etc. and manage relationships.

Take away Item

For your personal brand to be successful, particularly in business, the trust ingredient must be managed.  These tips can get you started down that road.


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