A book that I think is required reading for anyone who has relationships with other people (meaning YOU need to read this book) is The Trusted Advisor. This book has provided me with an easy formula that I use everyday. The formula is an easy way to know if I’m building or losing trust with someone.
OK, what is this great equation?
The equation is really very simple. It’s:
Competence + Reliability + Intimacy ÷ Self-Interest.
Why you need to be competent.
No one is going to take you seriously unless you can demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about. You don’t want to be arrogant when you demonstrate your competency and you certainly don’t want to make the person you’re speaking with feel dumb. You do want to demonstrate that you have the technical skills to help the person you’re working with reach a positive outcome.
What about reliability is important?
I don’t know about you but I find it incredibly rude when someone doesn’t show up on time, doesn’t return emails, and doesn’t get back to me. If you do this with people you want a trusting relationship with, forget about it. If you ship late, you’re not reliable. If you don’t do when you say you’re going to do it, you’re not reliable. It’s really pretty simple. Show up on time, say please and thank you, and do what you say you’re going to do.
Don’t be afraid of the word intimacy.
Intimacy in this case means you are truly interested in the other person. It’s not just about the relationship it’s about what makes their life better. It’s what’s important for them. Taking extra time to find out whether your idea is important shows that you care about the person you’re working with. When you show care about another, they’ll think more highly of you and this will help you build trust.
How do I know that I’m showing self-interest or not?
This is a hard one. At times we have to show self-interest. If we don’t we end up putting ourselves into a lose/win relationship. If we show self-interest too often we will cause trust to be lost with us.
This is the reason I like project billing versus hourly billing. I talk with you once about what you’re going to pay me and we’re done. I don’t have to continually send you bills and you don’t have to worry about me running up the clock. I find this method of charging helps build trust because it limits the amount of time you think I’m working in my own self-interest.
It’s also the reason I like to charge only for my advice. I do have models where I get paid for assets under management and commissions. I also know that both of these methods of payment always carry a certain amount of wonder in your mind as to whom I’m working for.
If you think about this issue when you’re working with someone you can understand why at certain points in your relationship the person you’re working with takes a step back. If they do, call it what it is and move one.
What do I do now?
Remember that trust is earned not given. The first step is to think about how the trust equation works in the relationships you have. Those could be with your family, your significant others, your boss, your co-workers, and everyone else you have a relationship with.
Are you willing to look in the mirror and ask the tough question of yourself? If so, you’ll be rewarded.
We have a special report on how to hire for unique abilities. This report will help you understand one of the first steps of building trust. Having the right person in the right place. To get this report, click on the button below.
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