December 22, 2016
Trust. If only Aretha Franklin had sang about that core component of successful relationships. Wouldn’t we all be the wiser? With its many interpretations and applications, trust proves itself as a complex yet necessary relationship construct. Especially for relationships rooted in business and established to build success. In this post, we boil down trust in business relationships to three main attributes: accountability, adaptability, and relatability.
In its simplest form, trust is showing up. To conversations, to meetings, to email strings, to wherever you say you’re going to be — it’s important to actually be there. By committing your time and attention to the people who’ve requested it, you prove that the things that are important to them are equally important to you.
By repeating this act of trust consistently, you’ll become equipped with a fount of knowledge and insights that’ll better contribute to a business's successes in the long run. You’ll ask questions that are important to your team and to the project’s success. You’ll become aware of opportunities to pursue and obstacles to prevent. All of this, when added up, will make an impact and put you in a position to better accomplish the tasks at hand as well as the tasks ahead.
Ah — but what about when things don’t go as planned? There are minor updates to adapt to, like schedule changes or last-minute feedback. Then there are more significant complications, like a project priority switch or last-minute cancellation. When time and money weigh on everyone’s shoulders, being adaptable creates the opportunity to foster trust. For me, adapting can be paraphrased into two trusty steps: 1) Prioritize; and 2) Pivot.
First, prioritize what’s newly important in relation to what was and might not be as important anymore. Understand the priorities of all team members and fine-tune your ear to be aware of the needs of those who are involved. Since you’ve made their original priorities important to you by being accountable, you’ll know the questions to ask and the clarifications necessary to understand any shifts in priorities.
Next, pivot. Like in basketball, a pivot isn’t a rush towards the basket. It’s the step before: a quick adjustment to get you facing the right direction. The same strategy applies here. You want to begin working in the new direction by moving forward towards the goal.
The cosmos of trust, if you will. This attribute of trust is the no-drama, no-jargon, treat-people-how-you-want-to-be-treated standard of trust. This element of trust is what allows you to say, “I don’t know — but I’ll find out” or, “I get where you’re coming from” and humanizes each professional relationship you establish. It’s using integrity and capability as a mechanism for progress — by preparing both internal and external team members to do their due diligence and making sure that you do the same. When people feel valued, trusted, and validated, collaboration becomes the bedrock to fuel work and allows everyone to be satisfied with a job well done.