I have a client who’s an executive with a company you’ve all heard of but for now we’ll keep it anonymous. Finding a new hire for the position 3 levels above her is nowhere in her job description. But when leadership is looking to fill a position, they always consult with her first. It doesn’t matter that it’s not her job, what matters is that leadership trusts her insights and her knowledge of what’s needed at a level they may not even be aware of. And she trusts leadership to consider her input and to hire someone she’s going to be able to work with. They’ve both opted into trust in a particular way that frees them both up to get shit done!If you want to operate at the highest levels it’s critical that you and your team, from the first day intern to the person in the corner office, are driving inside a strong principle of trust.
Trust /trəst/ noun: firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
No relationship can survive without some level of trust. At the very least we must be able to trust that the other person or persons won’t harm us. I mean if you can’t trust in that, I don’t care who the person is, it’s time to get out. We have different levels and types of trust depending on the relationship. The trust you have in your spouse or partner is going to be a much more intense and intimate type of trust than the trust you have in Cheryl at the office. Nevertheless, trust is key to making both of those relationships successful and fulfilling. Trust can sometimes be multi-directional. You can trust that Uncle Frank is going to have one too many at Thanksgiving and say something wildly inappropriate, but you can also trust that if you were in a jam, Uncle Frank would for sure be at your back.
If you want to drive in life as a high achiever, you’ve got to be able to trust and, just as importantly, you’ve got to be trustworthy. Especially if you’re in an executive role. I don’t know the numbers, but I’m sure a math nerd could work out an equation that shows a direct correlation between productivity and the level of trust a team has in its leader. You need to be training a principle of trustworthiness until it becomes a way of being. As a leader, you’re the bulwark. Your team needs to have complete faith that even when all hell breaks loose, you’re going to continue steering the ship and having their backs.
You also have to be willing to trust your team and yourself as a leader. I say you have to be willing because trust is a choice. You have to choose to put aside things like pride and ego and trust that your team, under your leadership, is capable of executing. Let’s say you have a new product launch coming up in a couple of months. One of your newer hires, Joel, is running point on it after Nadia broke her leg skiing in Breckenridge. Not the best timing. But your hands are full and you haven’t been inside it like Joel has. Do you trust him to see it through and manage the launch?
You need to know the answer to that question before you hand Joel the reins. It’s okay if the answer is no. Maybe he just hasn’t earned the level of trust required. Remember, having trust in someone doesn’t mean just giving it away. You need to use your discernment to evaluate what you can trust about a person and give it as it is earned. Maybe Joel has earned it but what he’s earned is your trust that he’s too green and not ready yet. You might have to wait for Nadia to get back on her feet but it’s better for the company, and for Joel, to not throw him in the deep end when he doesn’t know how to swim.
Maybe you're an entrepreneur. You deal in high end products and quality is paramount. You can’t make it all happen yourself. You depend on suppliers and vendors to see your products from factory to shelf and those relationships depend almost entirely on trust. Finding and building those relationships takes time. You don’t just open a phone book and drop your finger on a random page. You need to do some research, do some trial runs. Use your judgment to decide which one you can trust to deliver and then trust in your ability to make the right choice.
Last week one of your suppliers let you know that they’re going to be late with next month’s delivery. You can absorb it, it’s not going to set you back, but it’s something to consider. The manager explained the situation to you and has assured it will never happen again. What happens next depends entirely on the trust (or lack thereof) that you have in the supplier. If it’s a new relationship, your spidey senses might be tingling. Maybe the trust just isn’t there yet. That’s okay, you’re going to trust yourself to decide whether to give the supplier another chance or to cut ties, and that you’ll make the right choice. If you’ve been working with this supplier for years, then it’s probably a no-brainer. Screwups happen but there’s no doubt in your mind that they’re good for it. Your trust in them is rock solid.
I’ve worked with professional athletes, performing at the peak of human ability. These are individuals who have teams of people around them. Agents, managers, trainers, coaches, doctors, accountants and money managers. There’s an enormous amount of trust that must be established and maintained. We’ve all heard stories of performers like athletes, actors and musicians who’ve been bilked for millions by unscrupulous characters they let into their orbit. It’s not just about trusting the people you hire, but also trusting your ability to hire the right people. Just because your brother-in-law does his own taxes doesn’t mean he’s qualified to manage your eight figure investment account. You’ve got to be discerning about who you let into the fold, and if you’re not confident in your ability to do that then you’ve got to train it.
But the trust has to go both ways. All of those people aren’t going to put in the time and the talent unless they trust that the performer is going to perform. It’s got to be a two way street. I tell my clients all the time, if you want loyalty and optimal performance from the people you surround yourself with, you’ve got to make sure you’ve cultivated their trust in you. You’ve got to practice a principle of trust so that there’s never any doubt when someone asks the question, Can I trust you? And that takes training.
I work with high-achievers. People at the top of their game. My clients are individuals who want to make an impact—whether it is on their family, their community or the world at large—they have a drive and desire to be exceptional, and they want RESULTS. Part of creating those results is developing and training a principle of trust. One of the places I go deep into training principles is with the Elite Cohort. Elite Cohort is a group of up to 20 individuals who drive together through a year-round curriculum led by yours truly. These folks want to optimize every area of life, and we get results.
The current Elite Cohort is full. The chemistry is just right, and the majority of people have been driving together for nearly 3 years now. However, my leadership team and I have our eyes on several clients who may be a great fit for this training, and will curate another Elite Cohort as candidates emerge. You can find more information at joeyklein.com/elite-cohort, and book an Alignment Call to explore what’s possible. I firmly believe that everyone deserves to live a life they love.