Trust in Business: Simple Strategies for Building Trust

”The glue that holds all relationships together — including the relationship between the leader and the led is trust, and trust is based on integrity.” –Brian Tracy

Trust in BusinessWhether you are an employee or entrepreneur, building trust in business relationships is one of the most critical factors for success.  Nothing undermines a relationship more completely than lack of trust, and it cannot be taken for granted. You’ve heard that it takes time and effort to build trust, and only a few seconds to break it.  Success in business is all about relationships, and with the proper focus you can build relationships based on trust.

Trust must be earned.  When you first meet someone, they don’t really know you and so they cannot really trust you.  Don’t make the mistake of assuming someone trusts you early in a relationship.  Whether we admit it or not, we all tend to stereotype until we get more information about a person that either prov

es or disproves the stereotype.  Next time you meet someone for the first time, pay attention to your thoughts about that person.  You will likely be comparing him to someone else you already know and making some assumptions about this person based on those past experiences.  Likewise, you do not know how you measure up because you do not know how you are being stereotyped.  It is up to you to build the relationship so that your character shines and trust can be built based on you, not a ghost from the other person’s past.

Trust is built when people can rely on your word and it is only built through integrity and consistency in relationships.  People only do business with other people that they know, like and trust.  Customers do not buy from just anybody.  The popularity of the franchise restaurants is because the customer knows what kind of experience to expect, from the physical building, atmosphere and décor down to the quality and consistence of the food being served.  You need to earn the trust of your customers by letting them get to know you, your credibility, reliability and focus on serving others.

  • Do you do what you say you will do?  They key is to under-promise and over-deliver, not the other way around.  Make sure you keep your promises and do not offer proposals you know you can’t meet.
  • Share your expertise.  Give it away, freely.  Let others see that you know your subject and have the expertise to help them as well.
  • Identify the customer’s needs and focus on how you can meet them.  It is not about you, it is about serving them.  This starts with listening to them, and making sure you understand where the gaps are that you can solve.

MicromanagerIn the corporate environment, my theory is that you have to earn your freedom.  If you need to be told what to do and then consistently asked for status until the task is finally done, your boss has no alternative but to micromanage you.  On the other hand, if you are the kind of person that is proactive, looks at what needs to be done and then tackles it, your boss will have less need to watch over you.  Results count.  If you want more latitude in your job, be the kind of person your boss can trust to get the work done.  Early in my career, I had a supervisor who understood this and rewarded it.  I was a computer programmer who showed up for work later than most of the team because I was usually up late the night before.  One day, my boss called me into a conference room, and I was sure I was about to get “the talk” about my working hours.  Instead, he gave me an award!  His comments to me were that he recognized that every time there was a tough problem that needed to be solved, regardless of whether it was during working hours, late night or on the weekend, I was the one he could count on to fix it.  He did not care that I strolled into work at 10am, he cared about the results I was getting.  Since then,  I’ve seen time and time again where employees who get results, who can be trusted to get the work done, have much more freedom from the bureaucracy imposed by management and more success in their careers.

If you manage employees, you must also earn their trust and respect.  Office politics, back-stabbing, negativity and lack of productivity are all symptoms of a lack of trust.  Only if your team believes you have their best interests at heart will they put in the effort to achieve your business goals.  Mutual trust is based on the belief you can depend on each other to achieve a common purpose.  How do you earn this trust?  Here are 4 simple steps to get started:

  • Keep your promises.
  • Never ask someone to do something that you would not do yourself.
  • Be transparent.  Share feedback, discuss priorities & goals, and communicate often.
  • Support them.  Give them the resources they need, and back them up when they need you.

Trust in business relationships is critical to achieving real success.  Building trust should be the focus of all your interactions, regardless of whether you are an employee, business owner or solopreneur.  Become the kind of person others can count on and your reputation will grow and your success will follow. What are you doing to build trust?


Regrouping After the Layoff – Lessons from Valerie JL Coleman

Valerie J Lewis Coleman Pen of the Writer

“How I Survived the Demise of Dayton’s Automotive Industry”

I recently had the opportunity to interview Valerie JL Coleman, bestselling author, award-winning publisher and motivational speaker.

“After a twenty-six-year engineering career with Delphi Automotive Systems (formerly General Motors), the plant closed and my position relocated to Mexico. Since that time, I have embarked upon full-time entrepreneurism and adjunct teaching. My business, Pen of the Writer, was created to write and publish books, and position me as an expert on the topics of my books. As of today, I have launched careers for scores of authors including almost fifty high-school students. The transition has not been easy as the loss of my job represented 65% of our family income,” says Ms. Coleman.

In our exclusive interview, Valerie shares some of her experiences, how she overcame the financial and emotional challenges to fulfill her dreams.

Here are some of the highlights from our talk:

About the Layoff

You know the layoff is coming if you pay attention to the signs.  When the company starts to “downsize” the number of buildings in your area, and the manpower starts to shrink, you know it’s time to get prepared.

About Security

Working for yourself takes away the so-called security of a steady paycheck.  With the drop in income, you no longer have the discretionary money to spend on things like clothes and trips.  You start to fear how you will pay the mortgage this month.  Until you build up your business, there will be some lean times.  Build up some savings in the bank to get you through.  On the flip side, you start to see the intrinsic rewards you get from helping others.  That’s what keeps you going.

About Hard Work & Time Off

Valerie’s job in the automotive industry was in a factory environment, male dominated with a strong union presence.  She was an engineer with 26 years of experience, so the hours were long but the work was familiar, somewhat routine, and not very stressful.  As an entrepreneur, you don’t need permission to take off from work and you can do what you want when you want, but there is always something to do and you will work even harder.

About Focus

Choose one thing & stay focused on that one thing.  Valerie allowed herself to get off track initially by focusing on the needs of a music artist for the first 2-3 years instead of what she intended to do.  Without a written business plan, she wasn’t confident in her plan and got pulled into what we call the “shiny object syndrome”.  Today she uses a daily mentoring program and an accountability partner to keep her on track.

About Business

Figure out what part of your business is the most time consuming and whether you can outsource it.  Measure your sales to learn which products are the most profitable and focus on those.

Before You Start Out

Learn everything you can about the business you want to be in.  Look at the competition, what the market price is for your products, and determine what it is that sets you apart.   You also need to have a support network, get out there and network and join professional groups.

These are just a few of the highlights from our interview.  Valerie is a very lively and entertaining speaker and I recommend you listen to the whole interview. You can get a copy on our podcast or download it from iTunes by searching for “Mojo Solutions”.


Regrouping After the Layoff – Lessons from Valerie JL Coleman

Simple Morning Routines that Can Change Your Life

good morning routinesDoes this sound like your typical day?  You wake up to a blaring alarm clock, maybe hit the snooze button once or twice, and wake up at the last possible moment to get yourself ready and out the door on time.  You stumble out of bed to start the coffee and hit the shower.  After that, you rush to get dressed, maybe also rushing your kids out the door, and grab some fast food breakfast on the way.  You fight your way through the traffic, or perhaps the crowds on the subway, and by the time you get to work, you’re exhausted.

Lack of physical exercise, poor eating habits, no exposure to bright light, dependency on caffeine, and all that rushing and tension contribute to a decrease in metabolism, low energy and high stress.

How you wake up in the morning sets the tone for the whole day. In fact, Brian Tracy has compared the morning as “the rudder of the day”.

Highly successful people, those who seem to be able to do more, achieve more, and have better health, have a completely different routine.

There are 4 components you should implement in your morning ritual:

1)       Drink water.  Your body is dehydrated when you wake up, and drinking water helps to fire up your metabolism and increase energy at a cellular level.

good morning routines

2)       Move your body.  Ever watch a cat when it first wakes up?  It takes a luxurious stretch before ever even considering moving.  Start your day with a  long, full body stretch before you even get out of bed.  Once you do get up, exercise.  Some people may start their days with a full exercise session at the gym or a morning run, but if you are not used to such intensity then start with a few easy steps.  Take a walk, do yoga, swim, or maybe just a few simple movements to start.  The point is to get your body moving and start burning fat.  You should do some form of exercise within an hour of waking up and this will start the momentum for activity for the day.  As added benefits, you burn more fat when you exercise in the morning and you will be more likely to stick with your exercise routine.

3)       Eat a healthy breakfast.  We all know this is the most important meal of the day, yet 30% of us skip breakfast.  The rest of us usually grab something quick and usually not healthy. Take the time to fuel your body with a healthy breakfast and your energy levels will increase.  It is also proven that eating a healthy breakfast is a critical component for weight loss as well.   Start to experiment with quick options, such as a high-protein, nutrient dense shake.

4)       Engage in quiet time. You should put aside quiet time by yourself to focus on your goals and your intentions for the day.  What is it that you want to accomplish today?  Many are believers in meditation and journaling as well.  This is probably the most difficult change to make, since so many of us are not used to spending time quietly and deeply in thought.  I prefer to spend this time outdoors, since so much of my day is spent indoors I get energized by giving myself some time to look out at the lake, watch the sky brighten and hear the birds that are so abundant in my yard.

Consider the person who rushes through the morning and arrives at work only to take the next 30 minutes to an hour getting a cup of coffee, catching up with coworkers, checking email and figuring out what they need to do for the day.   This person is reacting to the immediate activities and “busy-ness” that makes up a typical workday.  The person who has taken the time to energize themselves in the morning and spent the time focusing on goals and intentions for the day will arrive at work ready to get right to the most important activities of the day.  This person has figured out what the most important use of their time is, and will achieve more over and over again every single day.

morning commute

Now let’s talk about that commute time.  Depending on whether you are driving or taking public transportation, you may currently spend this time listening to the radio, reading the paper, or perhaps chatting with fellow commuters.  A better way to use this time is to listen to inspirational or educational audio programs.  Load up your mp3 player with a book on tape, or a recording from a seminar, and use this time to expand your knowledge.  It is said that, “the more you learn, the more you earn.”  The average American reads only 1.5 books per year, yet they will watch 35 hours of television in a week!  Think of the amount of knowledge you can gain by using your commute time to listen to an audio version of a book.  You can rise well above the average with this one simple step.

Even choices that seem small can make a big impact.  Start by rising 15 minutes earlier each day.  Plan your breakfast to include healthier options.  Stretch.  Rather than make a drastic change all at once, give yourself time to build a new morning routine gradually so that you will stick with it.

Changing your morning routine will change your life.  It is that powerful!  Pay attention to how you start your day and begin to make small changes until you have formed these new habits.  What changes can you make?