American Express Open Forum for Small Business-May 28, 2009-How to Build Trust (in Business)

Note: My contribution was part of a larger article authored by Laurel Delaney

Paul A. Dillon, CMC, President/Owner, Dillon Consulting Services LLC; United States:

Trust is not a one-night stand. — Paul Dillon

In my more than thirty-five years in business, government, the military, academia, and the non-profit sector, here is how I’ve earned the trust of companies, colleagues, and clients:

Do what you say you’re going to do. Nothing builds confidence in your trustworthiness more consistently and unfailingly than doing what you’ve said you’re going to do. And, conversely, nothing destroys people’s perceptions of how trustworthy you are than failing to live up to your commitments.

The truth shall set you free.  Speak the truth, as you see it, forcefully and clearly. Don’t pander. Don’t worry about not being politically correct. Don’t worry about what other people might think. You can do this without being offensive, and people will see that you are worthy of their trust.

It isn’t about you; it’s about them.  This is the hardest part. In all of my working years, I have met only a handful of people who are truly committed to the welfare of others, even at their own expense. Most people are much, much too selfish. But, demonstrating to people that you put them first is absolutely critical to building trust and confidence in your ability to lead. You want to be somebody people would follow to a place where they wouldn’t go by themselves.

Trust is not a one-night stand.  It takes years to convince people that you are truly worthy of their trust and confidence. It is something that is built up slowly and consistently over a long time. So, get started now.

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