At the foundation of any successful business, you are bound to find a certain level of established trust. This goodwill must be extended within the workplace as well as between the company and its network of suppliers, clients and partners.
John Mackey, CEO of grocery retailer Whole Foods, asserts that he can tell within five minutes of walking into one of the company's stores whether or not there is a high level of trust in the operation. He says all business leaders should focus on developing the ability to instinctively feel when an organization is plagued by demoralized attitudes and behavior.
Once bad experiences cause potential partners or clients to lose faith in your company, it can be very difficult to rebuild a sense of trust.
Failing to follow through on tasks or showing up to meetings unprepared are examples of stops on the short path to total distrust. On the other hand, taking every challenge seriously and treating all groups and individuals with respect will give you a much better chance of fostering a sense of trust around your business.
For instance, if an important client is concerned that your latest business proposals may contain hidden tax liabilities, bringing in an international tax consultant to go over the situation in detail will show the client that you take the situation seriously and place a high value on their business, giving them every reason to trust you and your company.
In an article for Inc. Magazine, entrepreneur Margaret Heffernan urged business leaders to think of trust as an investment. Although it may not have a specific rate of return, you definitely won't get any back if you never put any in.