Espresso 29 – Tangible Trust

Tangible Trust


Here’s a hypothetical situation. Say you are going to work together with one of your kings to reach the college age students in your city. Your king is willing to give you one of his properties to use rent-free for two years. He will benefit from the “good will” of being involved in this project, which is good for his reputation. (He’s a university professor and sincerely has a heart for the young people who will be reached through this ministry.) As for your part, you will have a place to minister to the university students, you won’t have to pay rent, but you’ll need to pay utilities, and your king has also requested that you make certain improvements on the property, which will cost time and money.

“Offensive Briefing #3” talks about “collaboration.” It was defined as when a “donor would like to be able to partner with the Family on a project … in a manner that benefits the Family and our work as well as the donor and his work.”

This concept has great potential, but it is also a responsibility. If you decide to collaborate with someone on a project, chances are it will be a bit complicated, and it definitely will require time, commitment, follow through, and faithfulness.

For this type of relationship and work arrangement to go well you also need to work toward building a relationship of trust with the person you’re collaborating with.

So let’s talk about trust. Trust is crucial if you hope to win new disciples and members, build a flock, increase your base of supporters, become known as a force for good in your community, and build relationships that last. When you work with people on projects, you have to trust them, and they have to trust you.

“Contrary to what most people believe, trust is not some soft, illusive quality that you either have or you don’t; rather, trust is a pragmatic, tangible, actionable asset that you can create—much faster than you probably think possible.”—Stephen R. Covey

There are practical things that aid in building trust in personal and business relationships. Think about the following points from the CEO of a leadership consultancy. Ask yourself and the Lord how this counsel could apply to any endeavors or collaborative projects you and your Home are considering.

The Value of Trust

Trust is necessary to the credibility—and, therefore, the empowerment—of any organization, economy, or human relationship. People who work in an atmosphere of trust can collaborate productively, so things get done faster and at lower cost. The absence of trust is like a tax on a business. The presence of trust is like a dividend.

Character and competence underlie trust. Character includes integrity, motivation, and the right attitudes toward people. Competence includes skills, capabilities, and work habits.


For others to believe in you, you must be able to believe in yourself. Little things matter. For example, very few people keep their New Year’s resolutions. They make and break them year after year. Similarly, many adults make promises or threats (if you don’t clean up your room, you’ll get no dessert) to children and do not follow through. These little breaches of trust compound over time. When people break their commitments to themselves or others, they create distrust.

Your personal credibility is based upon four “core” attributes:

Integrity – This is not merely a synonym for honesty. Integrity calls for saying what you mean, meaning what you say, and doing what you commit to do. Honoring your commitments to yourself is fundamental to integrity. Only make commitments to yourself and others that you can and will keep. Be true to your values.

Intent – Intent is what you aim to do. To improve your intentions, you need a clear, accurate understanding of your motivation. To clarify your motives, use the “five whys” process first developed in the 1970s for the Toyota Production System. Ask why you want or don’t want something, and then ask why that is your answer. Do this five times to derive a much clearer understanding of your motives. Once you understand your motives, declare them. Making your motives and intent clear builds trust.

Capabilities – The elements of the “TASKS” acronym (talents, attitudes, skills, knowledge and style) define capabilities. Understand your capabilities and match them to your job.

Results – The way you get results matters as much as the results you get. Even negative results can help you improve your self-understanding and competence, if you evaluate how you got those results.

The 13 Behaviors

How you behave can add to or subtract from how much people trust you. There are 13 behaviors that build trust.

1. Talk straight – Say what you mean; mean what you say. Don’t beat around the bush, flatter or equivocate. Straight talk does not mean brutal or hurtful language. It means clarity, integrity, and communication.

2. Demonstrate respect – Little things matter greatly. For example, knowing and using the names of people who perform menial jobs demonstrates respect. Contemporary entertainment uses disrespect as a fulcrum for comedy, which may desensitize viewers to the importance of being respectful. Reflect on how you demonstrate respect for others. Do small things that acknowledge and express respect and appreciation. Be especially respectful of those who cannot help you get what you want.

3. Create transparency – At a minimum, do not work in the dark; do not cover up; do not do one thing in public and another in private. Create transparency by being truthful, and disclosing your intentions openly and verifiably.

4. Right wrongs – When you break trust, repair the damage. Make sure that people know that you are really trying to fix what you have broken, and not just trying to cover up, excuse yourself or justify your actions. Forgive others and be humble.

5. Show loyalty – Give others credit for what they have done, both to their faces and behind their backs. Giving people credit builds trust. Backbiting, on the other hand, destroys trust. It is easy to point fingers, but the person who accepts responsibility, instead of blaming others, builds enormous amounts of trust.

6. Deliver results – A consistent track record of results establishes trust, and will allow you more flexibility and freedom in a relationship. However, you must know what results the other party in the relationship expects you to deliver. Then, you must commit only to realistic results. When you commit, deliver results—not excuses.

7. Get better – Make a commitment to improve yourself, then act to fulfill that commitment, consistently. Steady improvement builds your capabilities, which are essential to trust, so continuous improvement builds trust. See your mistakes as a form of feedback and learn from them. Thank people for criticism and keep building; always remember that the capabilities you have today may be inadequate tomorrow.

8. Confront reality – Have the courage to face hard facts. Ignoring them doesn’t change the facts; it only destroys trust. Sometimes, refusing to face and frankly describe reality demonstrates disrespect for the people around you. Show others respect by being honest about tough issues.

9. Clarify expectations – At home or work, ambiguous or unclear expectations can destroy trust. Work to make everyone’s expectations crystal clear. At work, write project agreements. After conversations, double-check to ensure that everyone has heard and agreed to the same thing. At home, share written objectives, so everyone can work toward the same goals.

10. Practice accountability – Hold yourself and others accountable. Pay attention to what you think and say, and stop any tendency to blame others. At work, hold people accountable. Establish accountability for responsibilities at home.

11. Listen first – When you are talking, you are not listening. Nor are you listening when you spend time thinking about what you are going to say next. Listening demonstrates respect and provides the knowledge you need to make the best possible decisions. Learn to also listen for things that people aren’t saying explicitly.

12. Keep commitments – The more commitments you make and keep, the more trust you build. Of course, commitments need to be realistic—unrealistic commitments get broken, which destroys trust. If it becomes clear that you cannot honor a commitment, take the initiative as soon as you can and prepare the other party for a renegotiation. Be as strict and consistent about your commitments at home as you are about commitments at work.

13. Extend trust – Build trust in a relationship by trusting the others involved. When others seem not to trust you, ask yourself if you trust them. Trust sows trust in business and at home. Suspicion and micromanagement poison trust. Be prudent in your trust. Trust involves risk, but well-managed risk leads to rewards.

Final Thots (Taken from The Speed of Trust—The One Thing That Changes Everything, by Stephen M.R. Covey with Rebecca R. Merrill)


“When trust is high, the dividend you receive is like a performance multiplier, elevating and improving every dimension of your organization and your life.”

“People want to be trusted. They respond to trust. They thrive on trust.”

“Say what you’re going to do, then do what you say you’re going to do.”


Dad: Kings are conscious of every little thing that’s going on. Why do they notice every little thing? Because that’s how they got started, picking up little papers and closing windows and saving pennies, and they never get over it. They still notice every little thing. Nothing escapes the king. They notice how you’re dressed, the papers lying in the yard, and the junkers behind the garage!


Mama: A true professional excels. When you get down to the habits of professionals and what distinguishes them from others, so much of it has to do with their willingness to put the priorities of their work above their personal preferences; their willingness to sacrifice in order to get the job done, and their willingness to treat others with consideration and courtesy. So much of it is based on being trustworthy, upright, dependable, and excelling in your field.

Sam Smith
Sam Smith is an independent Missionary, that has spent 7 years of his life in Africa, trying to spread Jesus' message of love in any way possible. He has been involved with non profit companies distributing educational material, youth counseling, IT education and humanitarian aid work in medical camps. He believes in Jesus in the simple way that the Bible speaks about, without going so far as to "belong" to a denomination, but just wants to do his best with likeminded people to make the world a better place.