The Trust Test: Do You Pass, or Fail?

Trust is at the very core of reputation: for businesses, and for you and I. How’s your Trust score right now? Try my simple test to find out.

I’ve been thinking of Harvey Weinstein. And of reputation. And of our careers. Reputation is made up by two things. Each as important as the other. You can’t be good at one, and poor at another. Both have to be thriving. Here are those two pillars:

Capability + Character = Reputation

Capability. You need to be very competent at what you do. But capability alone won’t give you a fabulous reputation. Harvey, after all, is acknowledged as one fo the best movie producers in the world.

You also need to have Character. You have to be known to ‘do the right thing.’ Here Harvey fails.

We also all know people who are ‘wonderful, wouldn’t hurt a fly, salt of the earth’, but not good at what they do. Their reputation suffers. We like and respect them, but would never hire them.

So, you need both Capability and Character to build reputation to survive and thrive in business today. Through building reputation, you earn trust.

To keep succeeding in careers, we must work on our ‘trust’ fitness with all the stakeholders we must work with and whose view of us is important.

Remember the human condition. It is so easy to slip, and to let ‘trust laziness’ creep in. Happens to me all the time. You’re not born with all the ‘trust’ characteristics. You can learn, build and evolve them.

So here’s a quick Trust Health Check for you.

Look at each statement below. Give yourself a mark for each question.

Full marks for that question if you are outstanding at this with your clients and internal stakeholders. You’re brilliant. Could not be better. Zero if you are an unmitigated disaster at this. And somewhere in between based on how you feel you are. You know the plot. Then add up your scores. Get a total score out of 100. I explain at the bottom what your score means. Give it a go!!!

1. Believability
I work hard to build a professional profile for myself based on sharing insights about what my clients are most worried about. I focus on their issues and concerns, rather than talk about myself or my firm. My brand building positions me right at the edge of the disruption impacting my clients.

2. Proven Track Record
I quietly share examples of how I am delivering powerful results for others my clients admire and respect. Never breaking confidentiality of course… but seeding examples that show I am at the edge, sharp, kicking goals and adding value.

3. Rapport
I am always working on building a personal connection, rapport and relationships with my clients. I know that if I develop relationships and a human connection, then anything is possible. After all, people do business with people they like.

4. In Their Shoes
I always look at issues from the perspective of my clients. I get ‘in their shoes,’ and in this way am empathetic to how they feel and what they need.

5. Transparency
I never lie to clients. I am up front and authentic. I tell them bad news, fast. Yes, I do of course manage perceptions carefully, but always with candour – truth without malice.

6. Recovery
Of course I stuff up occasionally, and drop the ball. But when I do, I tell the client immediately, apologise, and set new deadlines and commitments. I recover fast from my setbacks.

7. Reliability
I am completely reliable. I deliver on my promises, don’t overpromise and under-deliver, am accurate in the details, and am a brilliant and timely communicator.

8. Consistency
You know what you will get with me. I am consistent in my performance and behaviour, though I do throw in the occasional delightful surprise!

9. Agility
I adapt fast when my clients’ needs change. I ‘play what’s in front of me’, and am always nimble and adaptable in the way I work with clients.

10. Respectful
I respect my client’s time, arrive always on time to meetings, and always return emails and phone calls quickly.

Now, add up your score. When I was at university, 80% and above was a distinction. In the world of Trust, to me there is no compromise.

You have to score 80% or above to get a ‘healthy’ tick. Anything less is a slippery slope to oblivion.

Now, stay calm. If you score less than 80%, what a great learning! Take action NOW to start improving your scores. Print out the Trust Health Check. Look at it regularly. Keep self-assessing.

We must every day ensure we are doing the hard yards to strengthen the pillars that create a brand for ourselves as being trustworthy. It needs focus. Dedication. Consistency. It’s so easy to slip up. We simply can’t afford to do that.

Work on your Trust fitness just as you do on physical fitness….with a plan, focus, measuring results, consistency, determination and grit.

You’ll stumble on that Trust journey, just as you do on a jog. That’s okay! Just keep at it, you’ll soon be running marathons!

, , , , , ,

8 Responses to The Trust Test: Do You Pass, or Fail?

  1. Stephen March 28, 2018 at 2:33 pm #

    Excellent post Chris – thanks! Although I could’ve done without saying the photo of Harvey…

  2. Stephen March 28, 2018 at 2:33 pm #

    That would be seeing, not saying.

    • Chris Savage March 28, 2018 at 7:13 pm #

      Thanks Stephen!!!

  3. Jeff April 4, 2018 at 3:35 pm #

    Chris this is excellent, I thought I’d hit it out of the park but know realize I have something to work on to help me achieve my goals

  4. Jaqui Lane May 13, 2018 at 12:42 pm #

    Chris, GREAT post. Did the test and am over 80 so it’s a distinction pass. However, It’s made me realise there ARE areas I can improve on and should work on for myself and my client’s benefit. Love your description of trust…I’ve been working with several clients on how to distil what trust is and your post/test has really hit the mark. Many thanks. Complacency is death. Jaqui

    • Chris Savage May 30, 2018 at 2:36 pm #

      Thanks Jaqui!

  5. Tim Parker June 5, 2018 at 5:45 pm #

    Strong, Chris. My Dad would say “Character is the tree, reputation is the shadow” (Lincoln, I think). Maybe capability is the leaves!


  1. Zurich Roadshow - Hugh Robertson - March 11, 2019

    […] We then had Christopher Savage speak on how to accept the disruption that happens in our industry and to not just think with our IQ or EQ (Emotional Intelligence), but CQ (Change Intelligence). We need to embrace Change and get on the front foot and not be reactive and victims to it. Chris also spoke about the importance of Trust and has published on his blog the Trust test. Check it out here. […]

Leave a Reply