Trust is the cornerstone of business. It’s the basis of every human relationship, every interaction, every communication, every initiative, every work project and even any strategic imperative you need to accomplish.
Trust is essential. Without it, social groups can’t function properly. Without trust, you generate a dysfunctional organisation with teams that make disappointing progress. An organisation that generates low trust is like a plane without fuel. You can fumble around in it all you want but it’s not going to successfully advance you to your destination.
It is trust that shifts a group of people into a team.
Yet, how often do you really think about trust and its daily impact? Trust is an emotional issue and it’s usually difficult to see, or even understand, in a workplace.
Let’s take a look at what some of the world’s greats – past, present and made up, have to say about trust.
- “Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly and they will show themselves great.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “Trust is like the air we breathe – when it’s present, nobody really notices; when it’s absent, everybody notices.” Warren Buffett
- “Mistrust begets mistrust; trust begets accomplishment.” Lao Tzu
- “Trust is like love. Both parties have to feel it before it really exists.” Simon Sinek
- “You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you don’t trust enough.” Frank Crane, American Minister and author
“Me, I’m dishonest, and you can always trust a dishonest man to be dishonest. Honestly, it’s the honest ones you have to watch out for.” Captain Jack Sparrow (not a real person)
- “In looking for people to hire, look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don’t have the first one, the other two will kill you.” Warren Buffett
- “Trust is like blood pressure. It’s silent, vital to good health, and if abused it can be deadly.” Frank Sonnenberg, author of Follow Your Conscience
- “If you don’t have trust inside your company, then you can’t transfer it to your customers.” Roger Staubach
- “Where there is a reduction in the belief that a business is serving the population and there is a reduction in the amount of trust to the point where nobody believes anything, then business finds it very hard to work and economies suffer.” Lord John Browne, Former Chairman, BP
- “You cannot prevent a major catastrophe, but you can build an organisation that is battle ready, that has high morale and has also been through a crisis, knows how to behave, trusts itself and where people trust one another. In military training, the first rule is to instill soldier with trust in their officers because without trust they won’t fight.” Peter Drucker
- “Trust is the antidote that overcomes fear – and fear is the greatest inhibitor of all to a relationship that welcomes and nurtures new ideas.” John Pepper, Disney Chairman
- “Trust is the lubrication that makes it possible for organisations to work.” Warren Bennis
“Trust isn’t what we do; it is what results from what we do.” Richard Fagerlin
“If you want to be trusted, you’ve got to give trust—you’ve got to give it to get it.” Stephen M.R. Covey
“When it comes to building trust, leaders go first.” Jim Kouzes & Barry Posner
- “If someone you’re trying to influence doesn’t trust you, you’re not going to get very far; in fact, you might even elicit suspicion because you come across as manipulative.” Amy Cuddy
- “Our distrust is very expensive.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “The more you control, the less you will be trusted; the more you hand over control, the more trust you will earn.” Jeff Jarvis, Journalist and Author
- “The highest form a civilisation can reach is correctly trusting one another.” Charlie Munger
Little wonder then that trust, or the lack of it, has shaped humanity. What are your favourite quotes on trust?