Does your business run at the speed of trust?

The speed of trust is something Covey’s son came up with, and is discussed nicely here on Robert Ringer’s blog.

During our campout this past weekend at Lake McDonald in Glacier Park, I had an incident that reminded me of this article, which if you think about it, speaks to everything from day to day business to systemic health care issues in the United States.

Trust (via “trustworthy”) is also the first point of the Scout Law. I think there’s a reason that it’s first.

Quoting Ringer on Trust:

The truth of the matter is that the greatest threat to America is its loss of virtues, and at the top of the list of decaying virtues is trust. Americans don’t trust religious leaders, they don’t trust schools, they don’t trust corporate chieftains, and, above all, they don’t trust politicians. And, I should add, all this distrust has been well earned.

Yeah, it’s a broad brush, but if you look at all the programs in place that are there simply due to a lack of integrity in business, there are billions of dollars spent just because we have serious trust issues with parts of the business world that should expect (and generate) implicit trust.

Leaf and frost at Glacier ParkUnfortunately, their behavior over time leaves a lot to be desired.

Back to this past weekend. I had a 13 year old patrol leader (PL) who took advantage of his leadership position a bit. He and a partner made breakfast and then left the dishes for 2 other patrol members. We don’t do that in our troop.

I don’t have many publicly visible, meddlesome adult-issued rules in our troop because I believe the boys have to take command and have that be seen, otherwise they’ll never get the trust and respect they need to actually BE the leaders of the troop’s boys. I guide and mentor from behind the wizard’s curtain, not by the heavy hand.

One of the few places I do meddle (sorta) is by setting the expectation that cooks should clean up the mess they make after cooking a meal. The logic is that if they know they have to clean it up, they’re more likely to either clean up as they go or at least, make less of a mess. They’re also more likely to give a rip whether or not they burn something to the bottom of a pan, whether or not they’ll put dishwater on after serving so it’ll be ready to use when they’re done eating (we have to heat our water in the field, obviously), whether or not they’ll fill a gnarly pan with water so it can soak while they eat, etc.

Once you’ve watched enough 11-13 yr olds cook, this is fairly obvious:)

That didn’t happen on this meal and the 2 newbie Scouts who got stuck with cleanup duty got the stinky end of the stick, dishes-wise. Eventually, they stumbled and asked me what to do (they should have asked their PL first, but they didn’t – they’re new). After a brief lesson in saving yourself 30 minutes of fruitless scrubbing (ie: soak the pan) and a few other pieces of advice, I had a moment with the PL and told him that he would be taking the dish box home with him.

When he asked why, I reminded him that cooks clean, but more importantly that I wanted cleaning the box contents to remind him of how patrol leaders can get the respect of a bunch of 11 and 12 year olds. IE: It isn’t by dumping crappy work on them. I suggested that he would earn their respect, and thus, their cooperation by taking care of his responsibilities rather than delegating the ugly ones. Finally, I suggested that they would start to trust (much less take action on) his instructions when they trusted there was no ulterior motive to them.

Without that respect, he will have to constantly nag his patrol members to get stuff done. It’ll take forever, every time they do something. The dishes are a prime example.

He’s a good kid, he just made a mistake. The lesson sunk in, and he admitted that he shouldn’t have done what he did – and did so without asking. Of course, he still got to take the dish box home (meaning: He gets to clean everything in it and bring it back Tuesday night).

Trust earns respect and cooperation, and not just in a Scout troop.

Can your clients trust you? Is that reflected in the speed your business gets things done?

Think about it.

3 thoughts on “Does your business run at the speed of trust?”

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