Lesson #50 – Do You Trust Others?

–Leaders have a great capacity to trust

What is trust? Most people can see the benefit of trust in business (faster growth, teamwork, and open communication), but they have difficulty actually doing it! That is because trust requires that they trust other people, trust themselves, and trust that quiet small voice inside that knows in realms other than sight and sound.

This last type of trust is often called intuition and can be hugely effective in business because it allows you to make decisions with insufficient data. Most decisions are in fact made with insufficient data.

One way to better understand your intuition and to make better decisions is to clarify your “baseline response.” A baseline is a benchmark or reference point. There are benchmarks on a sports field that tell you when you are in and where you are out of bounds. Your body has benchmarks that can tell you many things your intuition is trying to tell you but you cannot hear.

The “baseline response” technique is a way to use your body to know whether something is true or false, especially when your mind is confused by too much or not enough data.

To practice this, get with someone you feel comfortable with. Sit in a chair, relax, and close your eyes so you can concentrate.
Have the other person say obviously false statements, like: 2 x 2 = 146, your hair is purple, you live on the moon, etc. Your job is to become aware of how your body responds with every false statement. You may notice your stomach tightens up or your hands get cold or hot or your muscles above your eyebrows tighten.

Whatever your response, that is your “baseline response” for falseness. If you are having a conversation with someone and that same physical reaction occurs, then go on full alert because something is not right. I often use it when hiring people, especially in areas like accounting that are not my expertise. (Take the time this week to find your baseline response and than begin looking for when it occurs.)

Does trust mean you just tell people to do something and forget about it? No! There are boundaries to your trust. Many employees and managers mistakenly think their boss doesn’t trust them when the boss checks up on them.

If you have been scuba diving, you know that a diving buddy is there to check your air tank and help keep you safe. It is not that you are incompetent. Quite the contrary!

In business and life, it’s the same thing. Competent people overlook things, so having a back up system in place helps you trust yourself and others even more. Circus people put nets up while they are learning so they can build their trust in their skill level.

Trust is a muscle that must be built on experience. Pilots are always checking the instruments, yet they trust the plane will fly. It is natural for things to get off course. By checking the instruments frequently and course correcting, there is never the need for major course corrections.

Inspect what you expect. Trust does not mean you do not check on anther person’s actions.
Trust means allowing someone the space to fail and calculate how much you can afford to lose if they do fail. Establish limits of your trust.

Action Step #1

What is something you currently do in your job that you can train someone else to do? Now find and train that person. Trust your ability to train and trust that person’s ability to handle the job. Inspect what you expect, and then expect it!

Action Step #2

What decision have you been avoiding because you didn’t trust yourself. What safety net can you put in place to enable you to trust yourself with the decision in case it doesn’t work out?

An Example:
At one point in my career with my mentor, I was hiring accountants and lawyers, even though I am not an accountant or lawyer. I used the “baseline response” every step of the way. I was looking for someone with international experience in accounting. A woman came in for an interview. All she had ever done was keep her husband’s small business books in our local town. Her resume did not appear to fit what we wanted. I told her to tell me about her strengths and weaknesses, and then as she started to talk I tuned her out.
I listened to my body as I asked myself is this the right person for this job. My fingers started to tingle, which is my signal for truth. I then asked myself if I should go by the resume and my stomach tightened, which is my signal for falseness.
With those responses in hand, I hired her. She stayed with the company for a decade and was the glue that kept the company together during some very difficult financial times. She was, in fact, the perfect person for the job.

“The only way to make a person trustworthy is to trust them”
–H Stimson

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