What Does It Take To Be Trusted?

by Jay Deragon on 03/07/2012

“I don’t get upset when people lie to me, I get upset that from now on I can no longer trust them”

The standards of “trust” have gone up and will continue to rise.  Standards of trust implies different elements that influences the public sentiment about individuals and organizations trustworthiness.

Trustworthy means human confidence in someone or something for dependable performance.  Transparency is now the norm not the exception.  Unless you can build and sustain a trustworthy brand, personal and organizational, it is only a matter of time before the marketplace will reject you because you can no longer be trusted.

Extreme Trust Is The New Market Differential

Extreme trust.  This may be the strongest strategy of all, because it makes it likely your customers themselves will want you to succeed. Being proactively trustworthy (we call it “trustable”) requires you to watch out for your customer’s interest even when your customer isn’t paying attention. For instance, if you try to buy something from iTunes that you already bought, they’ll remind you that you already own it. Ditto Amazon. Extreme trust like this engages people’s natural impulse to show empathy, transcending the commercial domain of monetary incentives and tapping into the social domain of friendship, sharing, and reciprocity. And extreme trust should be even easier for a physical store to earn, because most people find it easier to trust other people they come face to face with.

The only reliable competitive advantage that any business is likely to have, in the totally transparent future, is the extreme trust of its customers. via The Only Lasting Competitive Advantage Is Extreme Trust | Fast Company.

Seven Steps To Extreme Trust

Trust isn’t free rather you earn it.  Earning it takes time and commitment to eight principles that apply to both personal and organizational objectives for strong relations.  These eight steps include:

  1. Build Trust: The first and most important action everyday is to build and rebuild trust. This means you have to establish and maintain a positive track record in the marketplace of conversations, transactions and exchanges.
  2. Act & Speak Honestly: In the marketplace of conversations what you do and say either builds or destroys trust
  3. Tell the Truth: Trust gets built from honesty even when you fail to perform to the expectations of the marketplace.
  4. Embrace Transparency: If you are trustworthy there is simply nothing to hide.
  5. Honor Your Promises:  Abide by all written agreements and verbal representations. Abide by your word whether written or not.
  6. Be Responsive To Change: The marketplace is dynamic. People are growing and learning together. If your policies, procedures do not change with the marketplace of expectations then you damage your “trust factor”.
  7. Shine With Integrity: Nothing is more appealing to the human network than integrity. Let it shine!

Yesterday’s marketplace may have been manipulated by those who were untrustworthy but the new marketplace is being built by those who can be trusted.


Christopher S. Rollyson March 7, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Jay, to add to your excellent points, there are three additional reasons that trust is the only way to go:
1) Trust is easier. Although misunderstandings happen that cause people (say, you and your client) to believe separate things, there’s only one truth. For example, I’m sure we’ve all worked with companies that charge clients as much as they can; like airline seats, clients may pay far different rates. It’s costly to create a different truth for each relationship (of course, makes sense for some businesses, but I’d argue against it if possible).
2) Trust is inspiring, and, in a social business environment, inspiration spreads more quickly, generates more word of mouth.
3) Trust is inspiring #2: your partners, coworkers, clients commit more deeply to you.
4) Bonus. It feels good to be clean.

Cynthia K Seymour March 7, 2012 at 8:15 am

Excellent points, Jay. I really have to hang on to the hope that the New Economy is going to be founded on Trust and transparency. (And, although I have never contemplated it, I have always really appreciated not having to purchase iPhone apps more than once.)

Rob Peters March 7, 2012 at 6:38 am


As you can tell, your blog is complete alignment with my tribe’s view of the importance and value of your trustworthiness is today’s hyper-connected & transparent world.

We believe in open standards for capturing, measuring, and utilizing Relationship Capital (RC) will be even more important to enabling your professional and personnal objectives as the FICO score is to obtaining financial credit!

Time-tested principles of honesty, accountability, responsibility, respect, support, truatworthiness, and emotional boundaries will enable individuals, products/services, and organizations consistently earn Relationship Capital (RC).

-Rob Peters
Founder, Standard of Trust

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