The importance of building and maintaining strong, trust and respect based, relationships

There’s a crisis of trust and respect affecting some in what previously seemed an unimpeachable elite class.

This crisis has affected many. They include banks (for example the recent LIBOR scandal and money laundering scandal), some individuals at the top tier of banking services, politicians (the expenses scandal, the widely perceived betrayal of values and pledges after election) and businesses targeted by UK Uncut for their tax strategies.

Our society is better informed than ever. Are we living in a more cynical era than before? Or do we just judge more harshly than previously under the constant sharp, bright glare of news services and social media channels?

In the financial services industry, for example, many mutuals (for example the Leeds Building Society), credit unions and the Cooperative movement are profiting from the loss of trust and respect suffered by the traditional elite. The pressure group Move Your Money are a force in raising awareness of options outside the ‘Big Five’ banks.

Although some people are motivated to move their money from institutions they no longer trust they will be seeking a series of positive reasons why they should deal with other professionals and businesses.

So what are the components of trust and strong relationships which the disillusioned will be seeking? And how do you ensure you build and maintain strong trust based relationships with employees, clients and partners?

We think the following factors are critical:

  • Product or service – you need something of value to others,
  • Trust – what do you do (rather than say) to build trust?
  • Values – what are your values how do you and your organisation demonstrate them?
  • Like-ability / public perception – how are you perceived by others and how do you measure this?
  • Common ground – people often like people who are like themselves or who share common beliefs and interests. How do you open conversations and build bridges?
  • Contact – how do you maintain contact with key contacts and let them know you’re there and thinking about them?
  • Being valued – how do you demonstrate that you’re credible, professional and an expert in your field?
  • Your company’s brand – all sorts of strategies including social media present this to customers and potential customers. What’s your strategy?
  • Your personal brand / reputation – social media can help build or destroy this, just as it’s helped to undermined the trust in the old elite. Yet there are some fundamentals to be addressed. Why should people trust or respect you? Your appearance and trappings are important, as well as your attitude, your behaviours, personal values, expertise and inter-personal skills. People do business with people as much, if not more than, with companies.

Some final thoughts. How does the aforementioned crisis of trust affect you, your business or profession? And what do you want to do to ring fence yourself and your organisation from this contagion? The creation and maintenance of trust and respect needs to be something we pay constant attention to. And, as we all know, from recent events, once trust is gone it’s very difficult or impossible to fully restore.

If you’d like to continue the conversation, let’s talk now:

Call us on 07767 302899 or 01227 763670

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