Carnival of Trust — October, 2009, Cube Rules Edition

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Cube Rules is all about your success in finding a job, working a job, and building a successful career. Despite all of the strategies and tactics here and on other sites, the pundits miss an important point: behind all of these strategies and tactics for success lies the value of building trust.

It is one reason why I like Charles Green’s Trust Matters site: he talks full time about this important value. Plus, his site sponsors the Carnival of Trust, monthly collecting great articles from other authors about the subject of trust.

I’m very happy and privileged to host this month’s Carnival of Trust — I hope you click through and read these articles about what is fundamental to building a successful life and career.

Check out these great articles:

No, Really, I Want to Give to the Fraternal Order of Police Money

A key to trusting someone is the ability of that person to engage you in your interaction. This is especially true on the phone as there are no visual clues to show engagement.

But, then, this is a little out of the park for not listening…

And I replied that I loved the interactions I had with officers during the demonstrations I had witnessed and which I had participated, and would happily give the $10 he was requesting.

He said

“Good night”

and hung up on me. Uh, what? Was effusive happiness over having positive encounters with the police not in the script? Was I not being clear?

This would be hilarious if it wasn’t true. Are you listening when people are talking to you?

The Loser is Always Right

You can empathize with a customer and fix their problem, or you can show the customer that you are right and they were wrong. Scott at Simple Justice gets it.

Why, if you want me to purchase your goods or services, if you advertise, if you run promotions, if you solicit my business, would you want to make me hate you by proving you’re right when I have a problem?  Yet so many do.

This is the flip side of sales — blow your service and blow your trust.

Break promises if you like but treat your workers well

Management breaks promises; that’s not news. But this study from NewScientist shows the link between the promises and the actual number of promises delivered. Is three out of seven enough?

Still, some degree of forgiveness for bosses who can’t meet their promises makes sense, suggests Lisa Schurer Lambert, an organisational psychologist at Georgia State University in Atlanta. “In a tough economy, employees know that things aren’t going to pan out the way that management said,” she says. “If they see that management is making an honest, good-faith effort, given the constraints, they’ll understand.”

Yes, they will understand — but better to not have promised in the first place then to risk the trust by breaking the promise later.

When broken commitments compromise trust

Yup, in the same month you have good-faith efforts not hurting you too much — but, yes they will:

If you’re in leadership, there is no avoiding the quagmire that results from broken commitments. I’ll get the easy part of this discussion out of the way first. As a leader, you must view every commitment you make as a sacred contract to perform and deliver. If you promise to return a call before the end of the day – do it. If you commit to a meeting – be there on time and be prepared. If you promise to complete a project – get it done. Every broken commitment chips away at the level of trust others have in you. If you don’t earn and maintain the trust of those you lead – you cannot effectively be their leader. It’s that simple.

But that part about preventing trust issues in the first place? This article gives you four ways for a leader to avoid trust issues from occurring in the first place.

How do you spell R-E-S-P-E-C-T as a leader?

We could use a little more respect in the world and on our jobs. What is a good way of looking at what respect means? Dan McCarthy of Great Leadership breaks it down by each letter in “respect.” My favorite:

T = Treat people how they want to be treated (the platinum rule), not how you want to be treated (the golden rule).

The “platinum” rule. That’s nice!

Respect is necessary for trust.

Nepotism in the Workplace — are you a beneficiary? A facilitator? Or a casualty?

Your business network is your best place to find jobs and get to hiring managers. But what if you pass along resumes to hiring managers and the people you pass along blow it by not showing up? It hurts the trustworthiness of you to your business network — and totally kills it for the person who did you in.

This is a serious lesson for Cubicle Warriors — if you are asking for recommendations or getting doors opened from someone in your business network, you better follow through. Otherwise, you end up with people thinking this:

After these two cases, I’d pretty much had it with the “hook me up” thing.  While anecdotal, in hearing similar stories from other friends, I can only imagine that the aggregate outcome is net negative.  For the one case that works out well, where 5 years later, someone looks back and says, “Hey, that college buddy of mine is doing a great job and loves it here after I helped him land an interview”, there are probably many more cases where someone got burned.

We need to help each other because corporations don’t have an interest in our career, only our job skills to achieve their goals (and that’s not a complaint). Are you treating your business network right?

Getting Your Parents to Trust You

You’d think there wouldn’t be much here for all of us grand adults out in the world. You’d be wrong.

Here are things you can do to get adults to trust you more:

1. Tell the truth. When confronted about something you’ve done, try to listen to their reasoning before you start explaining and getting defensive. You have two ears and one mouth—use them in that ratio.

2. Do your homework/chores.
Help around the house a bit—it may not always seem like it, but most parents appreciate it a lot. Even something as little as washing the dishes or doing the laundry makes them happy.

3. Listen to them. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should heed their every command, but if they tell you to clean up the “pigsty”—i.e. your room, it wouldn’t hurt.

And most importantly…

4. Act like you deserve to be trusted. If you deserve to be trusted, most people will trust you, plain and simple (unless they’re just paranoid). But one lie, a few angry words, can break down a relationship much faster than the time it took to build it.

Change parents to “manager” or “coworker” or “friend” and “home” to “work” and you’d succeed with this advice as well.

Trust and group coaching

Coaching Tips on Effectiveness tells us “the mindset with which you go into a discussion can radically change that discussion.”

Maria then gives us what she promised: some quick tips on how to get to working constructively using this mindset change.

Can we start with meetings?

Building Trust with Marketing Strategies

The purpose of marketing is doing everything to build trust in the brand (which could be your personal business brand that goes on the resume as well…). But, how do you go about building trust through marketing?

Robert Middleton at The More Clients Blog gives us the structure to build trust in the market, including a cool table that shows the four levels you need to build and how to do each of the levels.

There are four primary ways to build trust that are represented in the first column: Visibility, Credibility, Intimacy and Reliability.

And then for each of these categories, certain marketing strategies are employed. You want to implement one or more marketing strategies for each of these categories. This is not what is usually called the “marketing mix,” which is only a random implementation of various strategies.

It’s really a system designed to build trust step-by-step.

There is a lot of work you need to think through to implement this — but worth it.

Can you market trust?

Of course, while in the middle of the Great Recession, corporations are suddenly discovering their customers can actually see the disconnect between marketing and delivering because it’s killing their bottom line. Jay Deragon of the Content Management Connection notes that:

It is kind of ironic that the Business Week article says McDonald’s, Ford, and American Express are revamping their marketing to win back that most valuable of corporate assets. Marketing can indeed send a message that draws attention to why consumers should trust a brand. However,as the article also indicates, it is the behavior and experience of a brand or a person that instills trust over time. Notice emphasis on “instills trust over time“. Trust does not get created simply from marketing messages.

(Perhaps they could learn lessons from Robert, above!) My favorite line in Jay’s article:

The best way to market trust is simply to be trustworthy. Get it?’


I hope you find these articles thoughtful and helpful. I enjoyed reading all of them (and not all of them made it into this Carnival) and appreciate all the author’s efforts writing about this important topic of trust.

I also want to personally thank Charles (and Ian!) for both offering me the opportunity to host the Carnival of Trust and getting me pointed in the right direction.

  • Kristin Abele says:


    I wanted to thank you for hosting a great Carnival this month. The posts selected truly highlight an interesting perspective on establishing and earning trust as well as showcase how trust is a large participant in both professional and personal relationships.

    Thanks for a fantastic October Carnival of Trust!

    Kristin Abele

    • @ Kristin — it was great fun – and a lot of work! – to pick the articles. Hopefully, I’ve been able to show the breadth of the articles while constructing their order in a way that also tells a story. The folks at Trust Matters made it easy to do and deserve our thanks.

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