Industry Insight | Invest in trust (not bitcoin)

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1 min read

It seems like Elon Musk isn’t quite so sure about Bitcoin now, which is fair enough – anyone can change their mind!

Anyway, the next big thing is the currency of trust, and the good news is it’s not new, shiny, or bad for the environment - and even better it’s here to stay. Look back on 12 months like no other and ask yourself; who did I really trust?

Employees, friends, suppliers, advisors, the Government, the press… And what are the differences in a high-trust relationship, to a low-trust one… speed, transparency, value-add, reduced stress, productivity… the list goes on.


Why is Trust more important than ever?

If there’s one thing that a crisis does better than anything else it’s highlight what breaks under pressure, and what will stand the test. When you think about relationships with staff, suppliers and customers during COVID, can you see the stark difference between high & low trust relationships? It’s the difference between reporting back a supplier delay as “another excuse” and “a valid reason”. It’s the difference between letting a customer eke out their credit terms for another week when they face tough times, to sticking to your terms and starting legal action.

How do you Earn Trust?

As Stephen M.R. Covey teaches in the “Speed of Trust”, there’s four cores of credibility that underpin trust – Integrity, Intent, Capabilities & Results. I won’t attempt to explain all of these fully, you’re best to refer to his book and many others for that. However, in a nutshell - to be trustworthy you have to deserve it by being honest with the right motives, and you have to have the skills & capability to deliver results and keep your promises consistently.

Do a Trust review.

I won’t go into the levels of trust in your personal life or within your team, but as a manufacturer when you consider your suppliers & engineering service providers, who do you really trust and who don’t you? Then do something about the negatives – have a straight talk, be transparent, be fair, tell them what they need to sort out and give them a deadline to do it. And if they don’t..?

How can I be sure I will trust the next one?

You can’t, but you can try and reduce the risk that they won’t prove to be trustworthy, there’s two main parts to this –
1) Extend trust, and
2) Challenge their Trust Factor.

Extend Trust.

Trust is a two-way street, so the first thing you need to show is that you’re a trustworthy customer. For a start don’t use a formal tender process to choose a new supplier, it’s counterproductive as the supplier is forced to just tick boxes to try and jump hoops and it puts all the focus on cost instead of value. Secondly, be open about what you’re trying to achieve; what are your top 3 aims, what keeps you awake at night? And ideally share your budget or at least your spend over the last 3 years, then you can ask for more value not necessarily lower cost. And be open to ideas, the best providers should be giving you their honest opinion on the best way to solve your pain and achieve your hopes & dreams!

Challenge their Trust Factor.

So you’ve laid your cards on the table, now ask them to do the same. What would be the three most common reasons that their new supply relationships don’t work out? Ask about a time when they let a customer down and what they did about it? If things start going wrong how do they want you to tell them? Ask if there’s anything in their opinion that you’re going about the wrong way as far as the process of choosing a new supplier goes? A high-trust company should be brave enough to venture their opinion, they should be transparent about the fact that not everything goes right, and they shouldn’t be trying to be everything to everyone. You get the idea…

So in a (hopefully) post-COVID world Trust is the super-currency - earn it, demand it, and spread it.



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