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How Do You Build Trust?

Trust / May 4, 2022

I always say that there are endless lessons to be learned from baseball. One in particular that I love to explore is trust. It’s a fundamental requirement of every great relationship, yet it takes work to build and maintain.  How do you earn trust in the first place? My April guests offered some great perspectives that I’m excited to share. Keep reading for this month’s single, double, triple and home run, as well as a bonus grand slam from one guest who knocked it out of the park in a big kind of way.

SINGLE: Morality Matters

Truman Library Director Kurt Graham recently joined the podcast, which naturally included discussion about the library’s namesake and how he earned the trust of a nation. It was a multitudinous task achieved simply: with thoughtfulness. That’s not to suggest the decisions presented to him were easy. His presidency was actually characterized by some of the most trying circumstances in our history. It was his handling of those challenges that led people to trust him. He consistently prioritized others above self in his decision making, and demonstrated his commitment to the greater good…the hallmarks of a strong moral core and great leadership.

DOUBLE: Authentic Energy

Barry Litwin may be the CEO of a billion dollar corporation, but he likens his role within it to that of a baseball manager. He’s responsible for strategy, instruction, and above all, training. Building trust is a team sport that takes practice just like baseball.  So, he makes time every day to energize his team and reinforce his players’ place on it. When done authentically, emotional connections – the most difficult ones to break – are built. If a team is only as strong as its weakest link, those that can master trust will be undefeated. 

TRIPLE: Bide Your Time

My mentor and business coach Mark LeBlanc has rarely approached business in a conventional way, and his trust-building strategy is no different. Whether making a sale or laying the groundwork for a new relationship, his responsibilities are twofold. First, present the value. Second, get out of the way. It can be tempting to ask or try to speed along the process. But if his decades-long career has taught him anything, it’s that you must give trust to earn trust in return. And that means allowing others to decide what – and when – is right for them. 

Home Run: CEO of Yourself

When Marques Ogden was a rookie NFL draft recruit, a coach shared some wise words that have influenced him ever since.  “In order to be successful on the football field and off, you have to be your own Chief Executive Officer.” It was a message that was as much about accountability as it was reliability. You may be competent and have goodwill, but if you cannot show up and do the things you said you would do, neither one matters. 

Grand Slam: Instrumental Conversations

The pandemic impacted every industry differently, perhaps none so forcefully as live entertainment. Kansas City Symphony Director Danny Beckley’s skills were put to the test mere weeks into his role when he was challenged with ensuring the Symphony’s survival. Difficult conversations were had with unionized musicians, the board and the Kansas City arts community. With carefully orchestrated followthrough, he was able to fulfill every promise made with flawless execution, earning their unwavering trust in return. 

Who do you trust and what did they do to earn it?