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Regaining Trust - Part 1

In his wonderful book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, author Pat Lencioni posits that great team work begins (and ends) with trust. It is a lack of trust that kills most teams for everything else is built on a foundation of trust.

I would add that most any relationship, whether in your business or personal life, rests on that same foundation. So what do you do when trust has been broken? Is it possible to rebuild trust after you have broken it? The short answer is "yes" it is possible but it takes a lot of personal courage and an unwavering commitment to right the wrong that broke the trust. Here are five things you can do to help rebuild trust.

  1. When you make a mistake, own it the minute you realize something is not right. This is the first step in accepting personal accountability for what is wrong. And this step is
    internalit takes place in your own mind and heart.

  2. Take responsibility for your mistake - You own it in your mind, now own it outright with a verbal statement beginning with the word "I." It is hard to forgive an inanimate object like a corporation or a business. But when a person in leadership steps up, owns the problem, and then speaks to it, the chance for forgiveness down the line improves markedly.

  3. As you accept, publically, your own accountability, vow to make it right. Whenever you can, be specific about what you intend to doand then do it. And as you move forward make it your business to keep people informed as to exactly what you are doing along the way in order to regain their trust.

  4. Re-define expectations - Let people know exactly what they can expect from you as you move forward and then keep them informed of your progress. If past behavior is the best predictor of future performance, you have an uphill battle on your hands and only defying their expectations will prove your word was worth trusting.

  5. Some people c all it integrity, others call it accountability, but at the end of the day nothing replaces doing what you say you are going to do. Keep your commitments. No waffling, no excusesget it done.

Lencioni speaks about the importance of vulnerability in building and maintaining trust. These five things are based on your owning what went wrong, and then, in a very transparent and vulnerable way, putting yourself on the line to make right what went wrong. It is your willingness to be vulnerable that opens the door to regaining trust.

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