I’ve recently embarked on some further study and one
of the first things the program has had us closely consider is trust.
Most people, including me, would find it relatively
easy to identify those people we trust, those we don’t trust and those that are
somewhere in between.
What is the basis for our trust in a person, or our
lack of trust, or our indecision about whether we trust a person?
I had more reason to consider that question just
recently when for the fourth time a scheduled phone appointment somebody
had made with me did not take place. Four different people, at different times
of the day and week, over the past six weeks, had requested a phone
conversation with me.
Each time I agreed to a specific time on a specific day.
Each time the person not only failed to call at the appointed time, they failed
to advise me in advance of their inability to make the scheduled call. None of
the four even called just a little bit late eg 10 or 15 minutes. The earliest
contact I had from any of the four was 90 minutes past the scheduled call time.
Three of the four calls were calls with other recruitment industry vendors, who
were seeking some form of co-operation or input from me. All four were people I
knew, two of them for over five years.
Only one of the four had engaged me to deliver paid
services, and that was about five years’ ago.
None of the four offered any significant justification
for their failure to make their scheduled call (‘I was busy/I forgot’). I am
self-employed. If my time is not occupied with billable work then it is
occupied with undertaking activities that (I hope) ultimately, will generate
billable work (eg writing this blog or phoning clients and prospects).
As a person committed to building networks, and
helping people, within and across the recruitment industry I often invest my
time to assist others (either upon request or of my own initiative) and
certainly don’t want, seek or expect payment; I just want my time to be
respected, as I endeavor to do with the time others give to me.
Contrast this attitude to the one I have with my
clients; the ones who pay me to work with them,
their teams, or individuals within their teams. My clients are, almost always,
on time for a session and prepared for that session. If they cannot make a
session I am normally advised at least the day before, often a few days before.
How does that relate to trust?
My recent experience provides a classic example of how
trust works for me.
I trust people based on how they behave when there
isn’t something obvious or immediate in it for them .
An excellent example is my long-time assistant, Liana,
whom many readers would know as the program manager of all of my webinar
programs. Consistently, and over a long period of time, Liana has done things
for me that were not convenient for her to do, not her job to do or things that
I had not specifically asked her to do, but she did them anyway.
Do I trust Liana? I trust her one hundred per cent.
She has demonstrated she is worthy of my complete trust, and I hope that over
the inevitable ups-and-downs of an employer-employee relationship, across nearly
eight years, that she feels (at least somewhat) the same.
Last Thursday I attended a fundraiser held by Kingfisher Recruitment for
one of their employees who has Stage IV melanoma. As a
recent first-time father about to get married, this employee has been a
Kingfisher employee for just over five years.
Faced with the most confronting
medical diagnosis you can receive, in the prime of his personal and
professional life, this employee has asked for nothing other than flexibility
regarding his attendance at work so he can have the treatment he needs. The
Kingfisher directors have not only given him that flexibility, they have
facilitated a fundraising event (mainly employee organised) on their own
premises that raised $26,000 towards this employee’s medical expenses and
In a world where it is all too easy to criticise
employers for not caring and being totally self-centred and bottom-line
focused, the Kingfisher directors have acted with unflinching loyalty, going
way beyond what any normal employer would do.
How much trust exists amongst the Kingfisher employees
towards their employer? I don’t know the answer but I suspect it’s high.
When you’re in the trenches and things aren’t going
well you really find out who you can trust.
When another person commits to do something with you
of for you, something that is equally or largely in their interest, and they
don’t deliver their side of the bargain how could you possibly trust that
person to come through when the heat is on? What else, far more important or
consequential, becomes ‘too hard’ or ‘inconvenient’ to deliver on when it’s
The lifetime bonds that teammates in premiership
winning (or equivalent) sporting teams have are often spoken, or written,
about. These are the bonds of trust, established across a season (or more
likely, across many seasons) when people have seen their teammates do difficult
or unglamourous things for the greater good of the team.
Talking a good game is easy. Many people do it. The
true test of who you can trust is through a person’s behaviour, specifically
their consistent behaviour in difficult, inconvenient or
challenging times or when money and/or equivalent rewards is/are at stake.