I read this post by my friend John Haydon, who always has a way of making me think. It’s short, sweet and to the point, but I was left with several different trains of thought that wouldn’t get out of my head. So here we are.

Trust is something you think about when you consider your personal relationships, when you delegate work to your team, and hopefully with every interaction you have with your customers.

We all know that trust can take a long time to develop, requires a significant amount of hard work, and can be lost in an instant. It’s also vital for building positive relationships with your target audience, team, colleagues and partners. Untrustworthy and successful usually don’t work together.

You probably know I’m a nut about collaboration. Well, trust is the foundation of collaborative relationships, too. Would you be willing to support someone else and give them a boost toward success if you felt like they would turn around and kick you at any point in time? Of course not.

There are so many elements that play a role when it comes to developing trust — honesty, respect, openness, character, the ability to listen. But there’s another factor that always comes into play with trust and is often overlooked. Consistency. Being consistent with what you do and say may be the most effective way to develop trust and strengthen it over the long term.

Let’s think about consistency as it applies to your business:

  • Consistently providing the best product or service you can.
  • Consistently accepting responsibility when a product or service is not up to par.
  • Using the same branded messages consistently in your marketing activities.
  • Consistently handling customer complaints, questions and feedback quickly.
  • Being consistent with delegation and giving your team members room to grow.

Each of these examples, when done successfully, can lead to the development of trust. But it can take a long time and a lot of repetition to reach that point. And you have to think beyond the bottom line, beyond your ultimate business goals, and actually consider your team, customers and colleagues and the individuals that make up those groups.

Trust is all about relationships, and consistently doing the right thing to honor those relationships. I can’t say it any better than John says in his post, “The reason why things like trust and loyalty require a significant amount of time and effort is because you’re dealing with people, not ones and zeros.”