Trust is an economic asset!

This blog post covers an introduction to the concept of 'Trust' and examines the first of 5 levels of Trust development.

An Introduction to the Tangible Concept of Trust

Trust is a business asset that can lead to quantifiable economic growth. Within organizations, a rise in trust leads to a reduction in costs.

When trust is high, the speed of execution goes up and costs go down. 

An introduction to Trust: An exploration of the implicit elements of Self Trust and Credibility. 

"Speed is your asset. Learn fast, re-iterate and grow." 

 The trust equation. High trust translates into speed and low trust translates into retarded progress and higher cost

The ability to turn trust from an intangible element into an economic factor creates immense value for you. 

“Trust impacts us 24/7, 365 days a year. It undergirds and affects the quality of every relationship, every communication, every work project, every business venture, every effort in which we are engaged. Contrary to what most people believe, trust is not some soft, illusive quality that you either have or you don’t; rather, trust is a pragmatic, tangible, actionable asset that you can create – much faster than you think possible. I am also convinced in every situation nothing is as fast as the speed of trust. And, contrary to popular belief, trust is something you can do something about. In fact, you can get good at creating it." Stephen M. Covey

Let us envision trust with a workable mental model. 

Visualize trust as ripple effects that occur each time rain drops fall into a puddle of water.

Puddle drops, a mental model for trust circles. blog

 Each drop creates concentric waves. This is how trust exists because it always flows from the inside out.

With regards to increasing trust, there are 5 waves which each represent a layer of trust. 



These 5 Levels of Trust are: 

1. Self Trust represented as Credibility

2. Relationship Trust represented as Consistent Behaviour

3. Organizational Trust represented as Alignment

4. Market Trust represented as Reputation

5. Societal Trust represented as Contribution

"As you go to work, your top priority should be to build trust.” – Robert Eckert, CEO Mattel

The 5 Levels of Trust

1. Self Trust = Credibility

Self Trust comes from your ability (and capacity) to set and achieve goals and keep commitments. 

Being able to walk your talk gives you the confidence to feel good about your actions. 

The inner contentment and consistency you generate give others the ability to trust you. 

To be able to build trust with others, you must first have to trust yourself. Examining your self will reveal whether or not you have a foundation you feel good about. 

An "inside-out" approach to examine your credibility would be to ask yourself these two questions:

1. Do I trust myself?

2. Am I someone others can trust implicitly?

There are four core elements to building credibility:

Integrity, Intent, Capabilities, Results


Do what you say. 

"Integrity" is often used interchangeably with "honesty" but it includes a great deal more. 

Integrity means to act in accordance with your identifiable personal values and belief system at all times and in all circumstances. Integrity can be likened to the roots of a tree. 

Integrity is a key to personal growth and success. An excerpt from "Redefining Trust" on


Integrity involves not just telling the truth, but also these additional attributes: 

  • Humility - Being more concerned about what is right than being right, acting on good ideas rather than defending a position, recognizing contributions rather than seeking recognition.
It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit. - Harry S. Truman
  • Congruence - Act in complete harmony with your personal (and declared) values and beliefs. Demonstrating congruence means being the same in public as you are in private. 
  • Courage - Having the guts to do the right thing, no matter the cost. 

On building integrity:

  1. Create a habit of making and keeping personal commitments to yourself  - Be mindful of the commitments you make. Rather than make commitments impulsively, regard each commitment as a weighty undertaking. 
  2. Stand for something bigger than yourselfCreate a personal mission statement that describes your purpose. Align your actions and decision making processes to this mission statement. 
  3. Be candid and open - Always examine new and different ways of doing things. Allow for personal vulnerability to show and admit with courage and humility, the things you don't know. Be open to learning from others. 
I look for three things in hiring people. The first is personal integrity, the second is intelligence, and the third is a high energy level. But, if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.” – Warren Buffett, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway


Do you have a hidden agenda?

Intent is a key component of your credibility. In the absence of a good intent, your motives will be questioned; irrespective of your integrity, capability and results. 


Intent = Motives + Agenda + Behaviour . The elements of Intent; a key component of credibility

The key components of intent are: 

  • Motives - The reasons for doing one thing instead of another. Your motives will ultimately inspire the greatest levels of trust when you genuinely care about the progress and growth of others. 
  • Agenda - Your intended achievements. Your agenda will inspire the greatest levels of trust when you're oriented towards scenarios of mutual benefit and win-win situations. 
  • Behaviour - What your actions express. Your behaviour will inspire the greatest levels of trust when you act in the best interests of others.
“I think every good company has got to have a partnership relationship, really, with their employees. You have got to work in their best interest and eventually it will come back to the company.” - Sam Walton; Founder, Walmart. 

     Intent is distinctly authentic. You cannot fake intent successfully. 

    On Improving intent: 

    1. Constantly examine your motives - If and when necessary, review and refine your motives. Conscious people seek to act with good intentions to make good things occur. Be mindful to regularly take dedicated time to ensure that your actions match your intentions. 
    2. Boldly declare your intentions - This aids in open communication and enables others to understand (and possibly aid) your actions. Speak your goal out loud to give others clarity about you. Do this authentically and avoid the promotion of a (noticeable) fake personality. 
    3. Carry an abundance orientation over a scarcity oneAim to create enough for everyone without withholding what is rightfully due to others. Ensuring that others benefit from their dealings with you will accelerate your personal credibility. 
    “The measure of your life will not be in what you accumulate, but in what you give away.” - Dr. Wayne Dyer


    The distinct combination of talents, skills, knowledge, abilities and capacities that enable you to act in excellence are defined as "your capabilities".

    To maintain relevance with regards to your credibility, you must mindfully upgrade and enhance your personal capabilities regularly. 

    “The complacent company is a dead company. Success today requires the agility and drive to constantly rethink, reinvigorate, react, and reinvent.” – Bill Gates, chairman, Microsoft

    A clear breakdown of Capabilities is done with this acronym = T-A-S-K-S. 

    T-A-S-K-S is an acronym that spells out the implicit elements in one's capabilities: Talent, Attitudes, Skills, Knowledge and Style. Featured image from Redefining Trust Series on

    Talents - These are your innate, natural gifts and strengths. These come to you naturally without great effort. 

    Attitudes - These are your ways of getting things done. The varying perspectives and mental models you characteristically adopt will play a defining role in how you see the world and yourself. 

    Skills - The things you do exceptionally well  are your skills. Skills must be upgraded periodically to maintain relevance. 

    Knowledge - Your learnings, insights, understandings and awareness levels make up your knowledge base. Knowledge mobilization is a major key to profitability and relevance in today's global knowledge economy. 


    Results = clout. 

    Having a solid track record of achieving your goals and milestones creates credibility and develops meaningful trust. 

    Your track record introduces you before you speak. Redefining Trust, post in the Believe and Achieve Blog - feature

    Examine yourself with these questions: 

    • What tangible results am I achieving each day?
    • How do I get these results?

    If your path to achieving these results includes cutting corners and value agnostic behaviours, you are developing a short term success run. 

    Career long success requires a conscious effort to promote abundance and collaboration. Your ease of growth or growth impediments are the results of your result generation process. 

    True leadership elicits results through patterns of inspiration and trust development. 

    Truly remarkable companies build trust by maintaining open transparency with all. This is supported by a culture of experimentation that encourages growth and mistakes as people learn. 

    On improving results: 

    1. Take personal responsibility for your results rather than your activities - Use your creativity to find the best way to reach your intended results. Be open to  using different methods to get results. Avoid excuses such as "I followed your instructions!" when things don't work out in one way. Taking personal responsibility builds credibility even when things don't go according to plan. Personal responsibility is a sword. Wield it well. 

    2. Expect to win always - Believe this as you engage in each endeavor and act accordingly. Your expectation to win and exuberance serve as inspiration for your team to achieve the laid out goals.  

    3. Learn how to finish hard - Results are linked to finishing well. There will always be the allure for you to quit, but remaining steadfast on your path will be your biggest advantage. Achievers finish what they start. Be able to navigate your course of action, regardless of which unforeseen circumstances emerge. This is the true core of character, credibility and trust. 


    • Trust is a tangible concept that can be measured for quantifiable economic advancement in personal and professional spheres. 
    • There are 5 waves of Trust:
    1. Self Trust (Credibility)
    2. Relationship Trust (Consistent Behaviour)
    3. Organizational Trust (Alignment)
    4. Market Trust (Reputation)
    5. Societal Trust (Contribution)
    • Self Trust (Credibility) is sourced from 4 core principles:
    1. Integrity - Doing what you say..
    2. Intent - The nature of your agenda.
    3. Capabilities - Your relevance.
    4. Results - Your ability to get things done.