I’m just starting out in business and a lot of people have been asking me about trust. Trust is tricky when you don’t know someone so how do you make that leap? Ultimately it comes down to you.

I’m going to share with you some wisdom I learned in my Lean (process improvement) training based on a terrific book ” The Speed of Trust” by Stephen R. Covey.

The  4 Cores of Credibility

These are likened to a tree with Character (Integrity and Intent) forming the roots.
The canopy is made up of your Competence (Capabilities and Results).
The tree cannot stand without balance between the 2 and they are equally important.

 The roots of your Character

 1. Integrity – Are you congruent?

This invisible root of your character provides strength and stability. Having integrity means  more than abiding by the rules. It’s even more than honesty. This value includes congruence,  humility and courage.

Congruence is to live in harmony with your deepest values and beliefs – you walk your talk.
Humility is standing firmly for your principles, especially in the face of opposition – you’re more  concerned with what is right that with being right.
Acting according to your principles, & doing the right thing, especially when it’s hard to do, shows your courage.

2. Intent – what’s your agenda?

The trunk both partly seen and unseen. Your intent is your plan or purpose and is based on your motive, agenda and behaviour.
The motive that inspires the greatest trust is genuine caring – about people, your values and the quality of what you do.
An agenda that inspires the greatest trust is seeking mutual benefit – a genuine desire to find what’s best for everyone involved.
The behaviour that best creates credibility is acting in the best interests of all involved.

The canopy of your Competence

3. Capabilities – are you relevant?

These branches allow you to produce fruits or results. Capable people are credible. This involves more than skill alone and includes :

Talents – your unique, native strengths
Attitudes – are you approaching work with energy and the determination to contribute?
Skills – Are these continuously being improved?
Your Knowledge needs to be current and you need to keep learning!
Does your style ease your path or hinder it?

4. Results – what’s your track record?

The fruits – tangible, measurable and the ultimate purpose of your tree – your results  define your credibility.  Make sure you define results accurately – after all, you can do everything right and still fail.

Include the Trust tax / Trust dividend in your definition of results. Immediate results may be good but, if achieved in the wrong way, trust could suffer. Or, results look bad but, your excellent effort still creates a “Trust dividend.”
Choose to grow.  Even if mistakes are made and results suffer – a transparent culture of ongoing learning and growing creates trust.

Our 4 cores of credibility are not static and we can all work to improve them. More on that next time.