Early in David Horsager's 2009 book The Trust Edge, he quotes an unsettling statistic: "Mistrust doubles the cost of doing business." Trust is the key deciding factor that gives some companies an advantage over others, the book argues. A lack of trust not only impacts reputation and success in the marketplace, but also productivity, morale, and creativity.
Furthermore, Horsager explains, trust is not just some nebulous, intangible concept — it's a distinct skill that can be learned and reinforced through specific behaviors. And it's not a feel-good afterthought; it's the crucial foundation of everything an organization does.
Much of the book's advice has to do with the brand that an organization presents externally, and how companies maintain trust with their customers and the public. But trust is also essential for growing and innovating within a company. Showing trust in your employees is a sign that you believe they can succeed, building their confidence and allowing them to thrive independently.
When employees sense a lack of trust — for example, when the boss is micromanaging or enforcing restrictive workplace rules — they will be afraid of making mistakes. That atmosphere of anxiety discourages risk and experimentation. By contrast, mutual trust makes it safe for people to try new ideas, knowing they can rely on the support of their leaders and colleagues if a project fails.
In the book, Horsager explains how consistency in your organization's communications, values, and operations is an important part of building trust. At Connect the Grey, where our goal is to help businesses work better for people and planet, we actively practice what we preach: building the value of trust into our own organization before evangelizing to others.
And because trust is a tangible skill, it's important for us to practice it continuously. One of the things we like about Horsager's book is that it provides a helpful road map for incorporating the pillars of trust into day-to-day operations. Learn more about the book and his work on his website!