The Value of Trust

July 2, 2021

I learned the value of trust at a young age. When I was 13 years old, I lost my mother’s trust in me, over what else, a boy. It took a long time for her to trust me again (plus all the regular challenges of raising a 13-year old girl).

Often when I post on social media about my work events I use the phrase, “Thank you to my client for trusting me with their project/initiative/event…” or “Thank you to my client for putting their faith in me…”. (What is faith, if not trust?) Somehow instinctively I know that trust is important and I do honestly feel that trust from my clients when they hire me. Earlier this month I was talking with a potential client. She said, “If I think I should do X, and you tell me I should do Y, I will. I trust you.” It reminded of a call I had many, many years ago in a call centre. I was working for a telecommunications company setting up phone lines and services for businesses. One client told me that she trusted my opinion and would buy whatever I suggested. It was humbling! If I was unethical, I could have sold her anything. She trusted me that much.

Trust is Power

In one of my workshops I teach about Power and Influence. Why do people do what others tell them to do? Some reasons are out of fear (coercive power), for something in return (reward power), because it is the boss (legitimate power), or because someone in the know tells you to do something (expert power). Think of when you call an IT helpdesk. They tell you to click here, type this, enter this, click on that, etc. and you do it because they are the experts.

Another type of power is Reverent Power. Reverent power is based on trust. It means that I will do something you tell me to do because I trust you. I believe you will not hurt me so I will follow your suggestions. This is the type of power that I believe I have with my clients. They trust me. They believe that I will not hurt them. You know what? They are right. This conversation along with my conversation with another person about Carole Magic (see earlier blog post), have really sparked some heavy thinking over the past couple of weeks.

Know Your Why

Simon Sinek talks a lot in his work about knowing your Why. People will buy your product or service if they know WHY you are in business, and not focus so much on the WHAT you are selling. As a business owner, I have been working on articulating what it is I do. What is my pitch story? What is my value proposition? Can I explain my WHY? In one week, two respected people in my network have inadvertently helped me figure that out. I am in business to help others be successful. When I created the tagline on my website, “Making it easy for you to be successful.”, I was thinking of the play on facilitate which is to make easy. I did not really focus on the last part of the phrase. Turns out my instincts were bang on again.

I do not believe trust has to be earned

Maybe it is naïve of me to think this, however, I do not believe you have to earn my trust in you. I make the positive assumption that you are trustworthy and unless you break that trust with me, I will always have faith in you. Consequently, my relationships with my clients are the same. I have to believe that they already trust me or why would they have hired me? I work hard to ensure that they maintain their trust in me. It is not helpful if I feel I have to earn their trust. Consciously or unconsciously, if I have to manipulate my behaviour to earn trust, the relationship just may not be in our best interests.

The value of trust

A picture of a woman in a kayak
Value of trust in a kayak partner
Mom and I kayaking on Deer Lake, Newfoundland and Labrador

Mom and I are good! As shown in this photo, mom trusts me enough to go out in kayak with her! Seriously, the lesson I learned at a young age is an important one. Trust is a gift. It is one I treasure in my personal life, and what drives me in my professional life. If you feel I can help you or your organization be successful, please reach out and let’s explore the value of trust together. ~ Carole