Trust or Consequences

Hoping all your consequences are happy ones.” That was Bob Barker’s signature sign-off phrase when he hosted the 1960’s TV game show Truth or Consequences. The premise of the show was that contestants were presented with a question of “truth” (trivia or a bad joke), that if they didn’t answer correctly, would lead to a consequence that was usually some sort of zany or embarrassing stunt.

As I reviewed Deloitte’s recent Trust in the Workplace – 2010 Ethics & Workplace Survey, I was reminded of the dire consequences faced by organizational leaders who don’t get the right answer when it comes to understanding and appreciating the critical importance of trust in today’s workplace.

Is a Lack of Trust Hurting Your Performance?

Deloitte’s survey revealed that 48% of Americans who plan on looking for a new job once the economy improves cited a loss of trust in their employer as a reason for leaving. When you look at that statistic from a different angle you realize that those individuals have already “quit” their employers but have chosen to stay in their current job until a more opportune time to jump ship comes along. This lack of trust results in employees looking out for their own best interest rather than that of the organization or its customers. The consequences of low trust include lower profitability, productivity, efficiency, creativity, and employee morale, just to name a few.

“Trust” can be an elusive concept to define if we don’t have a common frame of reference. To illustrate this, pause for a moment and form a mental picture of what trust means to you. Did you picture the strong roots of a redwood tree? Maybe you imagined the anchor of a large ship? Or perhaps you pictured a parent holding a child’s hand? The reason each person views trust differently is that trust is based on perceptions of behaviors.

The TrustWorks!® ABCD Trust Model provides a common language individuals can use to build and nurture trust in relationships. The ABCD’s of trust are:

Able – Demonstrate Competence. Do you have the expertise needed for your job? Do you achieve results? Do you facilitate work getting done in the organization? Demonstrating competence inspires others to have confidence and trust in you.

Believable – Act with Integrity. Are you honest with others? Do you behave in a manner that is consistent with your stated values? Do you apply company policies fairly and treat people equitably? “Walking the talk” is essential in building trust in relationships.

Connected – Care About Others. Being connected means focusing on people, having good communication skills, and recognizing the contributions of others. Caring about others builds trust because people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Dependable – Maintain Reliability. Are you organized in your work habits in such a way that it allows you to follow through on your commitments? Are you responsive to others and hold yourself accountable? One of the quickest ways to break trust is by not doing what you say you’ll do.

For a more thorough discussion on the importance of trust in relationships and organizations, and the TrustWorks!® ABCD Trust Model, I suggest you download Building Trust, a recently published white paper from The Ken Blanchard Companies.

In today’s economy leaders need to recognize the value of trust or be ready to face the consequences. When it comes to building trust, here’s to hoping that all your consequences are happy ones!

6 thoughts on “Trust or Consequences

  1. Trust is a core value for us at HireBetter. We believe it is earned & paramount to everything else. With out that – you really don’t have much else to stand on.

  2. Hi Laura. Thanks for that article reference. A culture of high involvement will certainly help to increase employee engagement and lead to higher levels of trust in the organization.

  3. Thank you for sharing a common frame of reference for trust. In public education, I find lately that maintaining trust with stakeholders outside of the organization is actually more difficult than maintaining trust with employees.

  4. Hi Mary. Thank you for your comments. I agree with you that building trust with outside stakeholders is critically important for public organizations such as school districts, and there are a different set of factors that influence the building of trust.

    Best regards,


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