Rebuilding Trust

England’s most high profile cricketer, and a former neighbour, Kevin Pietersen finds himself out in the cold today chastened by the statement from his past Captain and English Director of Cricket, Andrew Strauss, “I don’t believe any team can function in any sort of capacity if there’s no trust, if we don’t trust each other’s intentions.”

The reasons why as suggested by Pietersen’s supporters have been overlooked in favour of casting blame and aspersion. The general media has reported Strauss’s statement as fact when the answer is a little more nuanced. There is trust. After all why would Strauss even invite Pietersen to a meeting, least he think he wouldn’t show up or offer him an advisory role on the future of cricket. The issue is that there is insufficient level of trust with the right people to bring him into the team environment now, Pietersen’s actions need to have greater impact and there needs to be clearer indicators of success.

Similar objection can and do arise in profitably growing and expanding a business when an investor, client, employee or business partner becomes increasingly uncomfortable with you. It takes two forms, professional, they perceive through your actions and/or behaviour that you are not competent to resolve the matter or personal, there is dwindling personal chemistry and enthusiasm to continue working with you.

Let’s be clear “trust” is defined as the hand-on-heart belief that at all times you will act and behave in the other party’s best interests.

What are the indications “no trust”  is the issue if unlike Pietersen you don’t know for sure? The other party questions your credentials repeatedly. You are continually asked about yourself rather than your ideas or insights on how to improve the investor, client, employee or business partner’s performance. You are brushed off with superficial responses, the other party name drops or seeks to upstage you about their past experiences.

What are you to do? Take your time, don’t jump to the conclusion, answer questions fully. Provide appropraite examples and case studies to support your points. ask a lot of questions about the other party, their motivations for being in the business and hopes. If there are others in the room embrace them in the conversation but keep a focus on the key person you must influence. Find common experiences or perspectives that demonstrate you share similar not dissimilar philosophies. Listen assertively and keep your mouth shut.

What are the indications you are successful? You are asked to go for a drink or meet socially. The other party moves the conversation from the superficial (background, social chat) to the detailed areas of help (business, investment, hiring opportunity, collaboration etc.) There is self-disclosure from the other party about their own failures. The other party confides confidential information (“We are weak in these areas…”). The other party asks for more time together or asks immediately for a further meeting.

The point is that we should be well prepared at countering the “no trust” issue. On a day Pietersen batted imperiously for 7 hours, he lasted 40 minutes before being given out LBW offering no shot to Strauss’s questions. Thankfully profitably building a business is not a game of cricket and  the investor, client, employee or business partner shouldn’t be umpiring.

© James Berkeley 2015. All Rights Reserved.

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