Trust is such an unassuming word, yet one that is overwhelmingly powerful. The Chamber’s dictionary describes it as: “worthiness of being relied on, anything felt to impose moral obligations, an upholding of integrity…..”

Each of these descriptions openly states the presence of an ethical compass.

In consulting with executives and business owners I observed how many of them felt that trust is earned.  Gaining someone’s trust is a process that requires time and effort.

So what do business men who are serious about building trusting relationships in business want to see before they trust someone?

  • They take time to get to know someone before deciding if they want to do business with them. They look for consistency in behaviour.
  • They look for people who are principled and demonstrate strong values.
  • They stay away from doing business with friends as several business men believe that there are no true friends in business. If they do go into business with friends they ensure sound legal contracts are drawn up protecting both parties. These contracts are drawn up by legal experts in their field.
  • They maintain a certain degree of distance or professionalism which safe guards them from finding themselves in potentially compromising situations. They look for congruency in the other person’s actions: does he do what he says he will.

The focus is truly on establishing a strong bond with a potential client as opposed to looking for what you feel you can gain from the other person. There is a common goal that both parties share with mutual “give and take”.

One retired executive mentioned it took him 5 years to build a relationship of trust with a client and this relationship lasted until he retired.

The business men all had certain traits in common: they guard their own reputation very carefully. They will refrain from doing business with people who display questionable ethics. They are very respectful in the way in which they interact ensuring that they are polite and careful in how they communicate. They keep their true feelings to themselves. The strongest factor though is that each of them had the best interest of their company as their key objective. There were no other hidden agendas.

Experience and hard lessons learnt taught many of the business men to trust their feelings of un-ease. If they failed to have a good feeling about someone or some business deal, they would step away from the situation.

You may find yourself feeling undecided about a deal or negotiation. Feel free to Contact Me if you would like to explore your concerns and make a more considered decision.

Posted in CEO, Leadership.