Ideas on People and Performance, Team Building, Motivation and Innovation

Trust is the Residue of Promises Fulfilled.

My good friend Frank Navran told me that 20+ years ago and it was certainly a great way to remember a really important factor in human relations.

Trust is the promises fulfilled.

So hard to build, so easy to damage. Hard to repair.

In the workplace, it is one of the really key factors in engagement and overall morale. If the workers do not trust their manager, and that can happen at any level, it is really hard to do those things that make an organization successful. People will avoid risk, bond together against leadership, etc.

The word “sabotage” comes from the French word for wooden shoe. Those were often found in the machinery during the French industrial revolution (and elsewhere) as managements tried to implement change and process improvement. If you have a valuable employee, why simply generate distrust and antagonism when you can find some way to use the positive energies and enthusiasm for business improvement?

Gallup posted up some research results recently. They asked,

“Please tell me how you would rate the honesty and ethical standards of people in these different fields – from very high, high, average, low, or very low? How about X, where X was randomized across different surveys.


Nurses were highest, followed by pharmacists and medical doctors. Healthcare came out pretty good, and we hope that it should. Dentists did well, too.

Not so good? The predictable “Car salespeople.” Okay, that was not unexpected, right?

But how about Members of Congress (54% rated Very Low and Low) and Senators (45% VL and L)? I mean, well…

Car salespeople CAN do things to build trust over time, like fairly representing their products and prices and all that. I would go back to Wendy again and even got my daughter a used car from her.

But what about “our elected representatives?” Is it too late for democracy? CAN they actually do some things to rebuild trust? One would hope.

Interesting, is that line for “Business executives.” They actually rank lower than Bankers. While 50% rate them Average, fully 27% rated them VL or L. (I sure would have liked to see them add in “your supervisor” and “your boss’ boss” but what the heck, there are plenty of other stats out there that indicate that improvements in that are possible…)

Yeah, Trust is the residue of promises fulfilled. And they should and can do some things differently to generate more alignment and congruence in their behavior, which would have significant impacts on the perceptions of their people. We have some really strong and ethical leaders out there (and we did not need former GE CEO Jack Welch embarrassing us on the accuracy of the job numbers just before the election — he did himself and all CEOs a great disfavor, IMHO, for political reasons.)

Trust is Residue butterfly guy blue

We have a great need to re-engage people. When surveys show that engagement has actually dropped from 23% to 14% recently, that is a signal that change is needed. We need to do some dis-un-engagement and engagimentation, we need to so some team building and leadership development. We need to get more people believing in more positive things about the corporations that are critical component of the success of our country (and any country).

I trust that you have found this interesting and that you would find some of our toolkits for involving and engaging people to be of benefit. Click on the icon for access to information:

Square Wheels are simply great tools


Scott Simmerman

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant.

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1 Comment

  1. Looking good, Scott!
    Just finishing an article on the topic. Will shoot you a copy when its done – appreciate any feedback,

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