Trust: 3 strategies to build and maintain trust in your relationships

Years ago, the Bible said: “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”

In today’s language, we might say “His word is as a good as gold.” or “If she says it, you can take it to the bank.”

In my simple way of putting it, do people trust you? Do your coworkers, your employees, your customers, your friends, and your family members really and truly trust you … without hesitation?

If so, you possess one of the greatest keys to happiness you will ever find in this world.

If not, there are four strategies that will put you on the path to building more trust, and as a result, more success in all your personal and professional relationships.

► 1. Tell the truth.

That’s right. Tell the truth, even if it’s uncomfortable or inconvenient. Because there is no way that trust and deceit can ever co-exist.

Hopefully, over the years, I have earned your trust, publishing Dr. Zimmerman’s Tuesday Tip, never missing a Tuesday in 998 weeks.

To celebrate the 1000th issue which will be August 13, 2019, I will be giving you a special whitepaper …

93 Truths to Unlimited Happiness and Success … for your life, work, and relationships. I’ll also be giving away 1000 copies of my latest best-selling book.

And on Thursday, August 15th I’ll be giving away fifty $2000 bills.

We’ve never had a celebration like this before. But on the other hand, there are few, if any, other blogs or newsletters in the world that have had such a huge following and have as long of a history as Dr. Zimmerman’s Tuesday Tip, so we’re going to celebrate big time. I hope you’ll join me.

Back to strategy #1: Tell the truth.

Knowing that his days were limited, one company founder chose a rather unique approach to selecting his successor to take over the business. He called all his directors together and said, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you.”

The boss continued. “I am going to give each one of you a seed today – one very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring and the one I choose will be the next CEO.”

One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed.

Every day, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing.

By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn’t have a plant and he felt like a failure. Six months went by – still nothing in Jim’s pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn’t say anything to his colleagues, however. He just kept watering and fertilizing the soil … in hopes the seed would grow.

A year finally went by and all the directors brought their plants to the CEO for inspection. Jim told his wife that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to his stomach. It was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right.

He took his empty pot to the board room. When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other directors. They were beautiful – in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed. A few felt sorry for him.

When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives. Jim just tried to hide in the back.

“My, what great plants, trees, and flowers you have grown,” said the CEO. “Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!”

All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the financial director to bring him to the front. Jim was terrified. He thought, “The CEO knows I’m a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!”

When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed, and Jim told him the story.

The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim and then announced to the directors, “Behold your next Chief Executive Officer! His name is Jim!”

Jim couldn’t believe it. Jim couldn’t even grow his seed. “How could he be the new CEO?” the others asked.

Then the CEO said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds. They were dead. It was not possible for them to grow. All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. He’s the only one here that’s telling the truth … the only one I can trust … and therefore, Jim will be the new Chief Executive!”

►2. Walk your talk.

Put another way, if you want to earn, build, and maintain the trust of others, you CANNOT say one thing and do another.

You can’t say you believe in physical health but eat junk food and never exercise. You’re not walking your talk.

You can’t say you believe in financial security but lack a savings plan for your future that you actually follow. You’re not walking your talk.

You can’t say that everyone in your workplace has to pull their weight, but you as the boss fail to hold your nonperforming employees accountable. You’re not walking your talk.

And whenever your words and your actions are incongruent, you raise doubts and lower trust in the minds of others.

To build trust, your creeds and your deeds have to match. As Michael Volkeman, the chairman of The Herman Miller Furniture Company, puts it, “Leadership is about doing the right thing, not the easy thing.”

► 3. Make the small moments count.

Prime Minister Winston Churchill knew about that. Even though his persona was bigger than life and even though his presence was felt around the world, he knew the value of building trust in the smaller moments. He said, “Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones.”

That’s why I absolutely hate it when people use weasel words like “I’ll try … I’ll see … I’ll think about it … That sounds good … or … I’ll get back to you.” In most cases, people who use weasel words and phrases are difficult to trust … because they have no intention of doing any of those things. They’re being polite liars.

And yet trust is often built or destroyed in those seemingly small, insignificant moments of conversation. So my parting advice for today, to be a trustworthy person, you’ve got to have the guts to speak clear yes’s and no’s to others.

Dr. Zimmerman’s Tuesday Tip, Issue 998– Trust: 3 strategies to build and maintain trust in your relationships