Every month, Seth Anderson (Weifield’s CEO) pens a new ‘CEO Connection’ column for our company’s monthly newsletter, WiredIn — each addressing a different relevant issue that Seth wishes to expand on for the month.
We are excited to post the third of Seth’s 2019 columns, here, for March, 2019 — on the topic of building trust.
“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” – Ernest Hemingway, American Journalist, Novelist, and Short Story Writer
Everyone wants to be trusted, but how easy is it for you to trust others? For something that takes so long to build, it can be lost so quickly. Why is that? Why is it that we can so easily see the bad in something – and run from it? How have we built walls around ourselves so that we don’t get hurt?
Trusting relationships is a Weifield value that we believe is one of the keys to our success. This helps us to make sure we keep the right people around and ensure we don’t do things to break those relationships. I remember an old relationship of ours that would always hold to his commitments; if he said something would happen, he would do whatever it took to make it happen.
One day, we had a delivery to a project site; the delivery driver dropped off the delivery and the bundle of conduit broke. They left without fixing the situation. It only took one call to our main person and the problem was fixed. He drove to the site and stacked and bundled the conduit for us. He didn’t have to, but he understood the idea behind upholding his commitments.
Another story around this same person involved the time we moved from one location to another. He came by to see what he could help; the weather was rainy and the rain was starting to freeze. The trailer we were going to load was iced over and very slick – so he decided to drive to the store and pick up some salt to coat the trailer with salt, so we wouldn’t slip as we loaded it.
I tell you these stories to share a little about what it takes to build the level of trust a person can depend on.
As a company, we need to make sure we hold to our commitments no matter what. When we tell someone a date, we need to make sure we hit that date. When we commit to doing something for someone, we need to make sure it happens. We also need to lend a helping hand when we can. To do this, we need to:
- Make sure we have the tough conversations. Talk straight to someone, clarify expectations, and let them know the obstacles that could impact you – so you are not committing to an unrealistic best-case scenario.
- Demonstrate respect to the other person. Show the person you truly care about their commitments and how they impact them. Maybe ask some prompting questions such as ‘Why did you need that done by a certain date?’, ‘Can I provide some more details to help you tell your client?’, etc.
- Realize the person on the other side is the same as you. If the other comes off like they lack respect for you, be sure to address it and let them know how they come across. Many times, that person doesn’t even know they are doing it.
- Make sure you are transparent. When an unforeseen condition comes up, make sure you communicate it with the people you have committed to. If it impacts your commitment, make sure you own your responsibility and right the wrong where you can.
- Show loyalty. Be there to help others. Maybe offer up that you will explain to someone else why their commitment wasn’t made. When the commitments are complete, make sure to give all who were involved, the credit.
Many of us know the impacts of trust and how good it feels when we can truly trust someone. I am sure many have felt when that trust has been broken and the feeling is not so pleasant. It leaves scars and hesitation in trusting others. If this happens again and again, it can build into guilt, resentment, and/or bitterness where we can feel the whole world is out to get us. I can tell you from experience when you start feeling this way, it is time for action. First forgive yourself, forgive the other person, and forgive God if you hold any of them accountable for your feelings. The guilt, bitterness, and resentment puts a person in a prison which feels like you couldn’t get out of.
Once you let go and focus on the future, you can start to trust again. Start small and work your way up. Once the trust is earned back, the feelings are wonderful and you can see the world in a different light. Yes, there will be times it goes backwards, but we must keep pushing forward.
Forgive, and you will be forgiven! Thank you and God Bless.