Building High-Trust Relationships

Building High-Trust Relationships
Issue 5 // 4th Quarter // 2013 Category:Leadership By: Rick Boxx

The meeting was drawing near, and I was getting nervous. My wife and I had been fervently praying that the new consulting team I was assembling would come to trust each other quickly. But I was concerned as to whether or not I could facilitate the initial meeting between two strong leaders, Jerry and Cindy, in a way that would move us toward a high trust team.

Jerry’s an expert on corporate culture. He led one of the most successful Fortune 500 sales teams in America and later went on to write and consult on corporate culture. Cindy, however, had previously led the Human Resources department and the Culture Committee for a Fortune 100 company, and had developed her own culture consulting program.

Since neither of them had yet met, and both had developed their own thoughts and processes related to culture, I feared that without trust, egos and agendas could quickly destroy my dream of a top notch Culture Consulting practice.

Fortunately, I remembered a saying I had heard: “The speed of trust is related proportionally to our character and competency.” Cindy and Jerry needed to discover the level of character and competency that each of them had demonstrated to me.

In addition, I recalled an acronym for TRUST I had developed from my study of Jesus’ calling of his first disciples. This acronym stands for:

  1. T - Testimonials
  2. R - Relationships
  3. U - Underpromise [and Overperform]
  4. S - Serve
  5. T - Truth

I knew implementing these ideas would help, and they did.

The meeting was amazing! Not only did God show up, but also Cindy and Jerry humbly worked toward compromise! This began the process of building an incredible Culture Consulting program and a team that has quickly learned to trust each other.

Jesus can teach us all some incredible lessons when it comes to building trust. The fact that he was able to convince a dozen men to give up all that they had to follow him is something most leaders would envy.

One morning, while reading the Matthew 4 account of Jesus calling his first disciples, I doubted the practicality of what I was reading. Verse 19 said, ‘‘‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed him.”

It didn’t make sense to me that Peter and Andrew would give up everything and follow Jesus–just because He asked. This led me to study all four accounts of this story in each of the four gospels. Suddenly the picture became clearer.

From my studies I discovered some practical lessons to be learned from Jesus regarding building trust. I’ve simplified them into the acronym, TRUST. If you desire to build trust and loyal followers in your workplace, consider the following lessons from Jesus:

“T” stands for “Testimonials.”

In the book of John, I learned that Peter and Andrew were disciples of John the Baptist. John lent his credibility and gave testimony to Jesus being the Messiah when he told Peter and Andrew, “There goes the Lamb of God.”

Sometimes to forge a new relationship and build trust quickly, we need the testimony of someone who knows us and/or our work. I began my meeting with Cindy and Jerry by sharing with each of them my comfort in their character and competency.

“R” stands for “Relationships.”

After John the Baptist pointed Peter and Andrew toward the Messiah, we learn that they both left to spend time with Jesus. This began the important work of knitting their hearts with His and allowed the two men to realize that Jesus cared deeply for them. In our workplaces people will not typically follow you, or be loyal, until they know that you care. There’s no substitute for time spent in relationship with others.

In my meeting with Cindy and Jerry, I knew we couldn’t launch into the agenda without investing time for them to learn about each other. This additional time allowed them to learn to respect and appreciate each other.

“U” stands for “Underpromise and Overperform.”

In Luke’s account of Jesus calling Peter and Andrew to follow Him, we learn that Jesus first amazes Peter and Andrew by telling them to let down their nets for a catch. He didn’t promise that He was going to fill their boats with fish. These professional fishermen had fished that lake all night long without so much as a minnow being caught. Peter and Andrew’s expectations were very low. It’s no wonder that Peter fell in repentance before Jesus after seeing Jesus’ power. Two fishing boats were so full with fish that they almost sank.

It’s best when we only make promises to others we can keep. We amaze them when we provide far more than what they expected. Trust follows exceeded expectations.

“S” stands for “Serve.”

When we serve others by meeting their need, we advance toward winning their favor and trust. Jesus knew that Peter and Andrew were frustrated. These skilled fishermen had fished all night long without any success.

Jesus knew the best way to serve Peter and Andrew was to provide for their need in a way they could appreciate. Two boatfuls of fish brought these men into a humble state–willing to give up all they had, to follow the man who cared enough to meet their needs.

If you desire to win the trust of those around you, keep alert to their needs and do what you can to serve them toward that end.

“T” represents “Truth.”

Jesus preached from the boat of Peter and Andrew, sharing the truth of the Gospel. If Jesus had lied or stretched the truth in any way during his teaching time, it would have undermined everything else He said or did, but He didn’t. His telling of the truth enabled Him to add to the level of trust He was building in His relationship with these disciples.

Jesus built trust into these two disciples that resulted in their willingness to walk away from their fishing enterprise, and, amazingly, two entire boats filled with fish that they could have easily sold for a significant amount of money! In the end, I believe Peter and Andrew realized that Jesus was trustworthy. If He was capable of providing two boats full of fish from a lake that was seemingly barren of fish hours earlier, then He certainly could provide for whatever their future needs might be.

If you desire to experience success in business, building high trust relationships is critical. The acronym for TRUST will help you leverage the testimonials of others, invest time in building strong relationships, help you see the value in underpromising and overperforming, remind you to humbly serve others and be known as a truth teller. Those attributes will result in a higher degree of trust in your business relationships and increase your overall effectiveness as a leader.

Rick Boxx

By: Rick Boxx

Rick Boxx is the President and Founder of Integrity Resource Center, a nonprofit dedicated to building integrity and faith in the workplace. His daily “Integrity Moments” can be heard on 250 radio stations or received by email. To learn more about Integrity Resource Center and their Culture Consulting program for businesses visit:

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