I get it, we're all smart...

The following is the original and the rewrite can be found by clicking here.

I know a very savvy leader who once started a meeting by saying, "I get it, we're all smart... let's get over it." I found it funny, profound and it set a tone that I had rarely heard before. 

In one simple statement he created a PUSH for everyone in the room...created common ground and checked egos at the door; he reminded us that we wouldn't be at the meeting if we were not smart, skilled and of value to the company. (For those who are not familiar with the term PUSH, it is used in Blackjack when the value of the player's hand is the same as the dealer's; this is considered a tie with no winner or loser and all bets are returned.) But it isn't always a PUSH, as we all know those people who simply set themselves apart. And why is that? -  More often than not, somewhere on that list of qualities, will be Trustworthiness... the firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone (or something). 

When you tear away all the formal structure, governance and process of business, in its simplest of terms, ,you are left with a group of relationships... be it internally among employees, or externally with customers. And like all relationships, the best ones are built on a foundation of trust... as the old African saying goes, "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." 

We all gravitate to those people that we can "trust"... be it to get the work done correctly and on time, because they do what they say they will do, are honest in their pursuits, and so on. All of these characteristics will serve a person very well and it is something we should strive for - But here is the thing, trustworthiness alone will not guarantee a strong business relationship. 

You can go fast with trustworthiness, as it can sometimes be a lonely venture, but if you want to go far, you need Mutual Trustworthiness... it is the knowledge and belief there will be reciprocity. This will build real relationships and create the "runway needed" to make great things happen. In the end, it becomes important to understand mutual levels of trustworthiness and how they are aligned; some will be evident though action and some will have to be taken on a little bit of faith.   

  • As individuals, we should ask ourselves what characteristics make us "Trustworthy"?
  • As leaders, we should ask what aspects of "Trustworthiness" do we want to foster on our teams?
  • Does "Mutual Trustworthiness" exist in our business relationships?

Symbolically, when you shake someone's hand, you are saying, "Trust me, I have no weapons". Do you know what else does your handshake says? 

This is how you will go far.