What is one thing that will make your career and success skyrocket? Developing trust. Tonight, I had a profound experience of listening to a talk by Joel Peterson, author of The 10 Laws of Trust: Building the Bonds that Make a Business Great.
In his book on page 122, Joel writes: “The central message of this book … is living a life of high-trust relationships is a goal that’s achievable. And the overcoming of the occasional betrayal of trust is possible.” Joel has practiced his philosophy of building trust, and it has led to success including his current work as Chairman of JetBlue. He serves as a consulting professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
“Since many of us here are entrepreneurs and even consultants, my question is about beginnings. How does one create trust when first meeting with potential clients, investors or potential partners?” I asked during Joel’s talk.
Joel responded that one does better to go in focusing on “What can I help with?” He said that early in his career he focused on two inner mantras: “It’s not about me” and “I have everything I need.” He said that these become part of one’s “muscle-memory.”
He shared that, at one point, he hired Robert “Bob” Waterman, Jr. (that is, the co-author of In Search of Excellence) as his business coach. Waterman observed Joel leading a meeting. Afterwards, Waterman said, “You talk too much.” Joel took in the lesson. On page 27, Joel writes: “Respect is the currency of trust … Nothing shows greater respect for others than to listen to them without agenda. That means listening not to agree or disagree (or to stall as you prepare a response), but simply to understand.” On page 81, Joel notes: “Strong leaders hold back as much as they speak up. At times, leadership can mean silence. When others are allowed to speak, trust grows.”
This is a powerful point, and listening is something I especially focus on in my work as CEO, Executive Coach and Spoken Word Strategist.
Listening is a foundation of trust. Additionally, with my clients and graduate students, I emphasize: Build your personal brand on being trustworthy, helpful, organized and respectful (the mnemonic device is T.H.O.R. that I wrote about in my books). You notice, that I start with trust, and that’s why I connect so well with Joel’s work!
During his presentation, Joel emphasized what he calls “Law #7: Embrace Respectful Conflict.” On page 80, he writes: “When parties disagree openly in a spirit of mutual respect and move toward—not away from—problems, trust grows rather than recedes.” He recommends these three practices: a) set the standard that the best ideas win, b) think like a mediator, not a judge and c) don’t let tensions boil over.
In my roles as co-organizer of Pitch Power Fest (on meetup.com) and Pitch Coach/blogger at PitchPowerFest.com, I was invited to attend this event. I’m deeply glad I had the chance to hear directly Joel’s wisdom.
There’s much more to say. Fortunately, Joel said it in his book The 10 Laws of Trust. I strongly recommend you get and study his book.
It’s time for me to return to those pages.
Spoken Word Strategist
CEO (leading teams in United Kingdom, India and USA)