Recognize the role truth plays in building trust
My radar is always up when it comes to the message of truth, and the past few weeks it seems to be everywhere I turn. Even hunkered down last night to watch the movie, “The Invention of Lying” which takes place in an alternate reality in which lying doesn’t exist. Not even the little white lie, so everyone tells the truth and nothing but the truth. I winced when Jennifer Garner turns to blind date Ricky Gervais at their initial meeting and tells him she is not physically attracted to him, he is not in her league, nor can he expect a good night kiss. Ouch! Although I’m not a proponent of speaking your truth in this manner, everyone in this movie believes one another completely because truth equals trust.
According to the 2009 study from Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership, the number one factor that has the greatest impact on Americans’ confidence in their leaders is trust in what they say. Given all the recent scandals, it’s no wonder so many individuals have become jaded.
While sharing with a friend the news about the grandfather of 9 who was the 10 billionth person to download from Apple’s iTunes and won $10,000 in downloads as a result, I was reminded of this. “Isn’t it cool a grandfather who downloaded Johnny Cash’s tune, ‘Guess Things Happen That Way’ won? This makes for such an incredible story which gives Apple way more media attention than if it was simply a teenager downloading the latest Black Eyed Peas tune.” His response, “Well, I’m not surprised it was an older person because the younger generation just rips off its music rather than pay to download. And c’mon, do you really believe this guy was the 10 billionth? I’m sure Apple knew this would make a great story and selected him for that reason.” Bam! I still vote it was the truth, but the fact we’re so quick to question the facts leaves me sad.
What’s the takeaway? Say what you mean and mean what you say because once trust is broken it’s almost impossible to get back. Even if someone gives you a second chance, a seed of doubt often remains. Be the real, authentic you. When you are, it speaks volumes and you usually don’t have to say or do anything to prove it. Whether you’re in sales, a business owner, support staff or a parent, be transparent in your approach, say what you mean and mean what you say, remember to under promise and over deliver, and follow through on your word. That’s how you build trust. And that’s the truth.