If you end up at the end of your life trusting no one, you may end up safe (from hurt or disappointment), but you will end up very sorry. The answer after you have trusted people and been let down, hurt or disappointed is not to stop trusting, but to trust smartly. In this wonderful follow up to their book The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything , Covey and Link have provided a no nonsense, straight forward road map about how to trust smartly.
The key to trusting more smartly is by doing what Covey and Link call a Smart Trust analysis which involves three variables:
1. Opportunity (the situation - what you're trusting someone with)
2. Risk (the level of risk involved)
3. Credibility (the character and competence of the people involved)
1. Opportunity - This is simply answering for yourself, "I am trusting this person to/with/for ________________." Are you trusting them to give you money, do a job, follow through on something they promised, or to keep something in confidence?
2. Risk - Trusting anyone or anything always involves some risk. To evaluate the degree of risk answer the question: a) What are the possible outcomes? So if someone said they'd give you money the outcomes may be: they will, they won't, they'll delay in giving you it beyond what they promised, they'll pay you less than they promised; b) What is the likelihood of the outcomes? Reasonable is not the same as realistic. Reasonable means, everything makes sense or what someone told you seems reasonable. Realistic means what is likely to happen. How realistic is it that that person will give you that money if they don't have it and have to get if from someone else or if they have it, but have other priorities suddenly thrust upon them? Trusted advisors or friends with no agenda and who want the best for you can often be your greatest "reality check" about the realistic likelihood of something working out even if you don't like their sometimes telling you, "No." For this critical role pick people who can give you a reason for their saying, "No," as opposed to the dispiriting people who are just naysayers (which you are hinting your wife might be, not that I want to start an argument there); c) What are the importance and visibility of the outcomes? The more important, critical and urgent something is, the more you won't be able to deal with it not coming through. For instance, for someone not to come through with money they promised you might make you have to scurry around to find it somewhere else, but if what they promised you was critical to your staying in or going out of business that's a much different level of risk.
3. Credibility - This is about the character and competence of the person or people involved. This directly affects the "likelihood of the outcomes" mentioned above. The lesser the character and competence, the lesser the likelihood of a good outcome. Character is about integrity. It's about doing what you say you'll do, when you say you'll do it and at the first signal that you might not be able to do what you promised, letting all parties know and taking an alternative action. Competence is about the person's capabilities and their track record. Furthermore, the competence needs to be relevant to the present circumstance or whatever job is to be done. Does this person you're expecting money from have access to it? Are there any complicating other priorities that might delay it? Do they have a track record of giving people money?
Try using the above "filters" the next time you trust someone.
I have never read a "soft skills" book that was backed with such extensive research and jam packed with so many stories that all the skeptics among you and even some of you hardened cynics will reconsider giving trust another try.
If my testimonial isn't enough, the foreward by Indra Nooyi, CEO and Chairman of PepsiCo, and one of the most trusted and respected CEO's in the world should compel you to give this book your consideration.