Build and Maintain Trust

     My 96-page Winning Thoughts book is based on my 272-page A Strategy For Winning. The smaller book resulted from people asking me for a “thought-per-page” volume they could carry in a briefcase or leave on a desk to flip to at various times for a pick-me-up or thought-provoker. One of the often-discussed pages in the book contains the simple words: “Do I trust you? Do you trust me? Mutual trust leads to victory!”
   Trust is an integral element of successful organizations. And I have been told that when people read this “trust” page a logical discussion question is, “How can we build trust in our organization?” Another question is, “How can we avoid losing the trust we have worked to develop?”  Well, here are four points to consider and discuss regarding how to build and maintain trust:
   1. Integrity – meaning moral uprightness and honesty – must come from the top of the organization and move down the chain of command. And, from the top on down, it is up to each individual to practice integrity as he or she thinks, talks, acts, and reacts. This involves thinking, saying, and doing what it right. It involves telling the truth and keeping promises. One person in an organization can bring great harm to the entire group if he or she does not uphold integrity. When one person thinks, speaks, or acts inconsistently it confuses others within the organization as well as people on the outside. Do the right thing. Regardless of the risks, don’t get involved with lies or half-truths. Untruthfulness or deception is the quickest way to break strong bonds of trust. 
   2. Vision and values must come from the top of the organization and must be bought into by organizational members. Vision and values define where the organization has been, where it is now, where it is going, and how it is going to get there. It establishes the ideals for which the organization stands. Another page in Winning Thoughts contains the words, “Those who can see the invisible can do the impossible.” The page goes on to read, “Disney World was not completed until after the death of Walt Disney. Shortly following the theme park’s opening, a person who was touring the facility remarked to his host, ‘Isn’t it a shame that Walt did not live to see this wonderful park?’ The host replied, ‘He did see it. That is why it is here today.’” Everything begins as an invisible idea.
   3. Members of the organization must be made to feel like integral parts of the team – and they must think and work in such a way to demonstrate that they are indeed valuable. People are empowered by hands-on, aware management that is involved rather than aloof. When management mixes with the troops, seeks opinions, and gets ideas from rank and file members, then both management and members prosper. Management must not have closed minds. At the same time, members must not grow resentful or bitter when their ideas are not used and their opinions are not embraced after careful consideration by management. Members should be allowed to share things that are seriously considered by management, while management has the right to determine if the ideas and opinions will help better fulfill the organization’s mission.   
   4. Set, plan, and work toward specific organizational goals. Personal goals have a place within the organization, but the group mission and the objectives established to accomplish the mission are more important than personal agendas.  People who put themselves before the organization or team cannot be trusted. That is why it is important to assure that top-down and bottom-up communication channels are open. When information is withheld and communication channels are closed or filtered, the grapevine grows weeds of misinformation that choke and eventually kill trust.    
   When you look at successful organizations, you find leaders who create trust by emphasizing the above principles. Efficient and effective leaders in business, politics, athletics, military, religion, education, and other fields of endeavor, including marriages and families, are careful not to take trust for granted. They establish a passion for building and maintaining trust within the cultures of their organizations.
Carl Mays, author of over a dozen books and speaker at over 3000 events, can be contacted at or 865-436-7478. His books – including A Strategy For Winning, People of Passion, Anatomy Of A Leader, Are We Communicating Yet? and Winning Thoughts  – are available in stores, on,, and other Internet locations.  


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