All around, I see erosions of trust—little things, here and there, a commitment made and missed, a confidence betrayed, selfish or thoughtless actions. A close business friend took many months to pay a large invoice and decommitted on a project, in the middle of the project — costing me thousands of dollars. He has told my how badly he feels, but it was a rather large betrayal. Another friend made a commitment to meet with a major client — then backed out at the last minute. In reality, none of these was malicious, but each represented a lowering of standards by these individuals I had trusted.
I was starting to feel a little down about things, almost feeling like pointing a finger and blaming all the people that were no longer trustworthy. Then I start to think, am I trustworthy? In the everyday rush of business, have I started to lower my standards? Am I starting to betray trusts, unconsciously, and certainly not maliciously, but am I no longer trustworthy.
I thought of the colleague that, over the past several weeks has left several telephone messages — I’ve failed to return a single one. I’m embarrassed and ashamed, my standard it to return every call within 24 hours. I thought of the report a client was waiting for, I delivered it several days after I had committed it. I had good reasons — maybe excuses, but I still caused him great difficulty in meeting commitments he made to others.
I’ve made a decision, I can’t control what others do, but I can commit to being trustworthy. I where I have betrayed trust, I must start to repair it. If I start taking personal responsibility for being trustworthy … and someone else (perhaps someone reading this article) … and someone else … and so on, collectively we might make a difference.
Several years ago, Stephen R. Covey, wrote a great book, The Speed Of Trust. I’ve been re-reading it recently. It’s a powerful and important guide. Everyone should read it.
In the end trust starts with me, I can’t be angry or bitter about others. I have to focus on being trustworthy, I know it will have an impact on me, perhaps it will on others.