In your book, you say that one of the best ways to create trust is to extend it. Why is that?
When you give people your trust, they respond to that, they rise to the occasion. It brings out the best in people. A few will abuse it, and because people get burned, they start to have this idea, You cant trust anyone. But weve let the 5 or 10 percent we cant trust define the 90 to 95 percent we can. And thats a big mistake, because most people respond very well to trust.
This is similar to what we see with love. Love is both a noun and a verb. Its an outcome, something you havebut its also a verb, something you do. So it is with trust: you can engender trust in other people through who you are and what you can do.
Naming this as a skill suggests that its something you can practice and become proficient atnot an inborn, you-have-it-or-you-dont talent.
Exactly, and seeing it this way is both far more realistic and far more hopeful. The great leaders are always those who create mutual trust. Otherwise, theyre just managing. They might be very efficient administrators, but if they arent strong at establishing trust, theyre not leading.
In fact, this ability, both to establish trust in new relationships and to restore it where needed, is an extraordinarily important skill for us today as leaders in this new global economy.
Why so? What has shifted that makes this skill especially relevant today?
There are two major reasons.
First, the whole notion Thomas Friedman calls the flat world, the impact of technology and globalization. Because were all drowning in information, we really need to know what we can believe, what is valid. Today more than ever, the ability to cut through the clutter and serve as a trusted voice gives you huge advantage.
The flat world idea also implies an increased reliance on interdependenceon teaming, partnering, collaborating, working together. All these dimensions thrive or die based on trust.
Take collaboration: this new economy demands an ever-increasing amount of genuine collaboration across companies, across borders, with multiple stakeholders and partners. But if theres no trust in the relationship, then youre really not collaboratingat best, youre cooperating, and perhaps even just coordinating.
Its the same thing with innovation. Just try to innovate in a culture of distrust, where people are vying to take the creditits extremely difficult.
And the second reason?
More and more, were all operating within a climate of distrust. Everywhere we turn, in our society, within organizations, even within our individual lives, theres increasing distrust and suspicion.
The data bears this out. In the U.S., only 34 percent of Americans believe that other people can be trusted. Thats one in three! Its lower in some countries where theres been a history of rampant governmental corruption, while in Scandinavia its double that68 percent in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. But overall, trust is going downtrust in our institutions, in the media, in the government. Trust in companies is very low; only 49 percent of employees trust their senior leaders. We trust our neighbors less, and even ourselves less.
Within that climate, if you have the ability to engender an upward cycle of trust and confidence, what an advantage you have! You become an island of trustworthiness in a sea of cynicism. This gives you profound influence in the world.
Explain what you mean about how distrust taxes us.
Trust serves as a performance multiplier: it increases every other strength you have. On the other hand, if theres distrust, everything else you do is discounted or diminished.
I call this being taxed. When you communicate with someone, if they dont trust you, they dont hear what youre sayingand thats a tax on your communication and ultimately on your performance.
Trust affects everything, therefore it changes everything.
As an environment in which everyone is a volunteer, network marketing would seem to be a fabric built entirely of trust or faith.
I agree completely. I have many close friends in network marketing, and my experience is that the primary offering in your business, even more so than the product or the business, is the credibility and trust of the individual. In addition to the products and the business, the person is core to whats being offered. Its who you are, your credibility.
In The Speed of Trust, I talk about the four cores of credibility, and all four are critical to your ability to establish belief and trust in others.
The first core is integrity. Integrity is like a trees root system. Do the roots go down deep, or not? If youre dishonest, you might be able to fake it for a short time, but as soon as the storm comes it will uproot the tree.
The second core is intent, that is, your motive or agendaand I think this is particularly significant in the network marketing business. Are you seeking mutual benefit, a win-win? Are you acting in the best interests of the other person, and do they see that? Or are you primarily being self-serving?
I call this the trustee standard. The trustee has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the person or organization for whom they are serving as trustee. They are legally and morally bound to act in that other person or peoples best interests. I believe you are most effective as a network marketer when you approach your business with that same idea: you are acting as a trustee for other peoples interests.
I love that concept: having a fiduciary responsibility to the people in our networks.
And think about it from your own perspective: you tend to trust those who you believe are acting in your best interests.
Im not saying this cant be a mutual benefit. Of course its mutual: thats part of how we win. But the starting place is to seek to act as a fiduciary for their best interests. Doing so makes you tremendously credible.
And by the way, its not enough for you to say, Yes, Im already doing that, they should know that this is good for them. Noits do they feel that youre acting in their best interests? Otherwise, theres enormous resistance and people are taxing everything youre saying to them.
So the first two cores focus on character; what about the other two?
They focus more on competence, which speaks to what you can actually do for people.
The third core is your capabilities, which includes your product or your offering, as well as your personal knowledge, skills and understanding. When youre current and relevant, when you can help solve problems using todays skills and not yesterdays, because youre constantly improving, that also makes you more credible.
The fourth core is your results. If you have a track record of producing, of helping other people win, that makes you more credible. Your reputation really does precede youand if its a good one, people tend more to trust you.
Of course, everyone has to start somewhere. But even if youre starting out brand new in your network marketing business, you still bring to it the credibility youve established from other work youve done in your life. Everyone starts with a track record and relationships of some sort.
Stephen, where do you see network marketing as a whole, in terms of trust? And what do you see as our biggest challenge in that regard?
I think that network marketings credibility is very much on the rise.
This is true in part because there are many fantastic people succeeding in the business and doing a great job of helping many others achieve success as well. As more and more people do this, it raises the validity and other peoples perception of the entire profession.
Also, there are quite a few credible business authorities and other opinion leaders speaking about network marketing and direct selling as being legitimate, sustainable business models.
Pilzer, Kiyosaki, Bach and so forth.
Exactly, and they bring their own credibility to what they say, which further elevates the profession. Thats a very positive directionand I think theres no question that this will continue into the future.
Network marketing is very much a part of this increasingly flat world as we move into a network- and relationship-based economy. And your results only lend further strength to that. As you have more and more people succeeding in network marketing, it becomes a rising tide for the entire profession.
And our biggest challenge?
I think your biggest challenge continues to be around this notion of intent. For some, this is still an issue: whats the intent and motive? Are you my friend, or are you just trying to recruit me into your system?
People dont want to feel theyre seen as my friend only because of what good they can do for me. They want to be friends with people who look out for their interests.
In your business, if you believe fully in your offeringboth your products and your opportunitythen you naturally want to share that with others. But if your true intent is to help other people, to have their best interests in mind, then you cant assume there is just one solution for them. In other words, your offering may or may not be the best thing for that other person. And if it turns out its not, then youre completely at ease with that.
If you come to it with the attitude, This is the best solution for me, therefore it should be for you, and you need to see that! this may cause the other person to question your real intent and motive. But if instead your approach is, Im going to share whats exciting for me because it may be of interest to you too, but regardless of whether it is or not, my interest is whatever is in your best interest, that frees people up to trust you.
There are many, many network marketers who have embraced this attitude and intent quite beautifully, but I think it remains as a challenge for the profession as a whole.
Ironically, based on what you say in your book, taking that posture really starts with trusting yourself and creating some faith to stand in there. So this whole issue may really come down to this: do we really have genuine faith and confidence in ourselves and in what were doing?
Thats right. Youre basically saying, Look, I have enough trust and confidence in myself and in this opportunity Im involved with to let it stand on its own merits. I really want your best interest, and if this doesnt excite you or interest you, Im giving you that space. My intent is the same.
In the book I quote Frank Herbert, who said, The people I distrust the most are those who want to improve my life but have only one course of action to do so.
Oh, that strikes right to the core!
Doesnt it? And what Im suggesting is the opposite: I care about you; I want to improve your life. Here is one possible course of action. It may be a terrific one for you, or it may notand Im okay with that, because what I care about most here is what will serve you.
I believe well bring more people into network marketing if we adopt that approach. By creating that type of freedom and genuine intent, I believe the business opportunity will speak to people on its own. You free them from any potential baggage they might have brought to this; you allow the process to flourish in a climate of trust, instead of having them question what your real agenda is.
Im not saying that if you believe in your product and opportunity, you shouldnt be passionate about it. Of course you should, and you can certainly share that passion freely. Its just that you want to extend your complete trust to the other person in making the judgment as to whether or not it is also something for him or her. And when you extend trust, youll find it is reciprocated.
This seems to go back to what you said earlier, about our really having three offerings: product, opportunity, and a third
Which is ourselves and the trust we offer. For some people thats the most important need they want satisfied in order to move on in the process. Others might start with the product or the opportunity, and that trust may be the final thing that they buy.
Given that, our profession may prove to play a critically important role in the years ahead.
I think it absolutely can, because its so heavily centered around building relationships.
In The Speed of Trust, I go into thirteen behaviors that build trust. [See sidebarEd.] When you adopt these ways of behaving, its like making deposits into a bank account, the balance of that account being how much trust exists in your relationships.
Contrary to popular belief, people are not fools.
Exactly! And their basic premise is, If something sounds too good to be true, thats exactly what it is.
Whats more, if you dont talk straight from the beginning, people can easily become disillusioned later on, when theyre in the process of building and they find out how difficult it can be. And then they really lose trust: They werent completely honest with me.
As your profession talks straight, youll increase your credibility in the world. The more your profession behaves in these thirteen ways, the more peoples perception of your integrity, intent, capabilities, skills and your track record will riseand the more trust you will create.
The trust that people have in you, and your ability to engender that trust, are the heart of what good network marketing is all about.