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  • Writer's pictureNick Leach

Without Trust, You Have Nothing

Trust is the foundation of any relationship, both personally and professionally. Within high performing organizations trust will be at the center, people who don’t trust each other will not work together. Trust can also help your organization build better and stronger relationships with your customers. Customer relationships which are based on trust can also move the relationship from transactional to more of a partnership.

Trust is an emotive topic; to say you don’t trust someone will have people coming out fighting and brings out negative passion! Without trust, people take challenges personally rather that understanding the challenge from an organizational perspective. But trust is best looked at without emotion. Introducing the Trust Equation.

The Trust Equation

I first learned about the trust equation in an organizational culture workshop. When you break the equation down you are able to understand what is driving trust issues. Then you can then work on and resolve them. Since learning the equation, in every situation I have had an issue with trust, the equation has helped me find the answer.


This is a person’s experience and training in a given field. For instance, a Doctor has creditability from their years of experience and the degrees they hold.


Do you follow through on what you say? Can you be counted on to deliver? Can you be relied upon to deliver? I am sure right now, someone comes to mind who you cannot count on to deliver and because of this, you don’t really trust them.


Can I speak with you in confidence? Can I rely on you to keep things confidential? With bad news can I trust that you will not fly off the handle? Do I feel okay to ask you something which makes me vulnerable?


This is the biggie! By being the single denominator, this can quickly counter the hard work above the line. Self-Orientation is related to how much of the agenda is all about you? Is it all about what you want as opposed to looking at and understand the other persons agenda?

Regardless of your scores above the line, the dominator, self-orientation plays a pivotal role in building trust. In my experience when trust is an issue in business, it is generally always self-orientation to blame. Many organizations are so focused on their internal goals and driving their own agenda they forget to even consider what their customers want. Do you think their customers trust them? Would you trust an Organisation who was solely interested in their own agenda? In this type of Organisation, the customer relationships will be transactional. The good news is, if they are your competitor, their customers will be ready to switch the minute someone offers them more value.

Now consider how trust impacts different parts of your Organisation. In Pharma, representative incentives are in direct opposition to building trust. If the person in front of you only makes their effective salary by you buying from them, there is a clear self-orientation which limits the ability for trust to develop. People within the industry argue that without incentives people would not be motivated to do their jobs. I always found this a silly argument. If you take 40% of someone’s expected salary and use it as a carrot you’re forcing the motivation to be connected to money. It’s the lowest common denominator. Would you hire someone who’s only motivation was money?

Another great outcome of building trust throughout your organization is that it supports the culture and the ability for people to be confident to say what they think. With a foundation of trust, the culture becomes more open and people feel comfortable to challenge when they have an alternative idea or position. We can all remember a time when we knew a strategy was wrong, but we did not feel we could say anything. In a purpose driven Organizations where people trust each other, you will find people will be comfortable to call it. There is a level of transparency and no hidden agendas. Getting rid of hidden agendas, and having greater transparency speeds up your organizational trust factor. People are motivated, communication is clear, when there are issues they have highlighted and resolved. Getting trust in your DNA is truly transformational.

Teach everyone the trust equation, make it part of your organizations DNA and trust will live at the center of your Organisation. You will build a company with best in class leading reputation and it will be difficult for any competitor to compete against, and best of all, they won’t understand why your organization is succeeding. Understanding trust will have your teams building trusting relationship with your customers with mutual goals.

You have an easy formula and it will become instinctive in your daily operating rhythm. Moving forward it will become natural for you to build better relationships; you will take the time to understand others and always be looking for mutual alignment.

It’s a game changer. Trust me.

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