When Trust Goes Out the Window

What happens when your people have lost trust in you or the organization you represent?  You might find yourself facing a hunger strike. 

If you haven’t been following the recent reports of Anna Hazare, media outlets and residents of India are referring to him as the “New Ghandi.”  As a well-known social activist from India, Anna Hazare was arrested by police this month in protest of an anti-corruption bill that was drafted by the government without the input of Mr. Hazare and other social activists.  Police stated that he was arrested due to the ban on public gatherings at the park he was staging his protest.

The same anti-corruption bill in question was originally requested by Mr. Hazare earlier this year.  Mr. Hazare refused to eat until an anti-corruption bill was drafted by the government.  The same techniques of civil disobedience used by Mohandas Ghandi were now being used by Anna Hazare.  The government gave into his demands, but soon went ahead with their own version of the bill that did not appear to be tough enough on corruption.  Mr. Hazare and other activists were barred from giving their own input on the bill’s wording.  This caused Mr. Hazare to begin a new hunger strike.

Mr. Hazare was released from jail the day before yesterday thanks to the waves of protestors supporting his cause.  However, he has once again begun to fast until death until the anti-corruption bill is re-written as the law he and others originally sought. 

Think something as serious as this wouldn’t happen in the business world?  Look at News of the World, with the recent fallout from their phone-hacking scandal.  Rupert Murdoch and son James recently dodged bullets from the grilling they received in the UK Parliament.  However, with each passing day, new information is coming to light that James may have known more about the scandal that he stated.  

If it turns out that James was lying, he will be the next leader to fall in a series of leaders from News Corporation that have either stepped down, or that are facing charges. 

Corruption of power may have been the norm in the past, but the public has faced too many scandals and the water has finally boiled over.  It’s now more important than ever, whether you’re a part of a government body, or a leader in a business, that those that follow you can trust you.  How can you expect to lead individuals when they have little to no faith in your leadership style?

There’s a simple-to-follow model called the TrustWorks! Model that allows both leaders and individuals create an environment of trust, provided the model is followed consistently.  In order to build and maintain trust, individuals follow an A-B-C-D formula:

  • A – “Able”: The individual can demonstrate competence.  They have knowledge, problem solving skills, and can show they are able to meet goals set by them and others.
  • B – “Believable”: The individual acts with integrity.  They are ethical, admit when they’re wrong, and treat others equitably. 
  • C – “Connected”:  The individual cares about others. They enjoy working with people, they’re receptive to feedback, and they constantly praise the contribution of others and celebrate successes.
  • D – “Dependable”: The individual is reliable.  They follow through on their commitments, holds individuals accountable (including themselves), and are organized in some fashion.

Based on this model, can you see what skills these leaders were missing?

What about you?  Do you already exhibit some of these skills?  Are there areas you could improve upon?

For further reading on trust, our sister blog Leading with Trust offers plenty of information and tips about becoming more of a trust-worthy individual.     

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  • Comments (4)
  1. Always areas to improve. Sad thing is many do not see when trust gets out of the window, it is a long time getting it back, if you ever get it back…something like your parakeet getting away…you might be lucky, but you may never see that trust again, at least not at the same level.

    • I highly agree, Jim. I think that trust is much harder to regain, vs. building trust in a new relationship. If you sabotage a relationship and are then seen as untrustworthy, you’ll work much harder to gain or regain a level of trust.

    • Edgar Dias
    • August 19th, 2011

    Agreed. Trust or (alternatively) adequate control is definitely needed within the internal business processes of an organization to succeed. No organism can survive that is self-destructive.

    In terms of external engagement the “best practice” demonstrated most effectively by leading-edge businesses today : Google, Apple, Microsoft is
    Trust us dear customer – we serve to make you totally dependant on us
    . while simultaneously
    Dear competitor – beware… we have as many patents as you do.. and if you must insist.. go ahead and litigate.

    So much for real trust – being demonstrated by our leading Companies eh? then there are those Companies and inidviduals that still think – they can get away..(even .in a fully Networked environment). and some often do for a very long time: Bernie Madoff, Enron etc..

    As far as Hazare…. it was the “we’ve had enough of this BS” that triggered the action…. not lack of trust… there was never any trust in the authorities!!

    On a broader perspective – in a human context – business and society – it will take something more severe – like an environmental catastrophe to drive home the “we’ve had enough” situation
    then we will discover that failure to trust is not an option…. we depend on it…and can only survive because of it.

    • I find it interesting that you brought up the patent battles between Google, Apple, and Microsoft, considering the recent news of Google’s proposed buyout of Motorola Mobile. Google and its hardware partners have been facing an onslaught of lawsuits over the recent months, though its hardware partners have taken the brunt of them.

      Wouldn’t you say that this demonstrates Google’s commitment to Android and its partners as it’s now trying to protect its partners through the patents it may acquire from this proposed buyout?

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