Trust is a very important dynamic in business success.

Two of the features of the Mackinac Bridge which are visible from afar are the twin towers, reaching 525 feet from the waterline toward the heavens.

In Building Bridges to the Future®, a business model which uses this bridge as the fundamental metaphor to understand business, these towers represent relationships. The footings on which these towers are anchored are defined by personal integrity and personal awareness.

The towers and footings of the bridge support the suspension cables, which represent leadership in the metaphor.

Think about this for a minute … Leadership – to be effective – must be supported by strong relationships based on personal integrity and personal awareness.

Over the course of my career, I have found these three principles to be true:

  • Principle #1: Strong and effective personal relationships are built on personal integrity and personal awareness (awareness of self and others, emotional intelligence);
  • Principle #2: Personal integrity is the net sum of honesty and trustworthiness; and
  • Principle #3: Personal awareness is the net sum of self-awareness + other-awareness

Let’s take a closer look at Principle #2. Webster defines “integrity” as: Firm adherence to a code of especially moral values.

For me, honesty and trustworthiness are the two primary twins that define integrity. Webster defines “trustworthy” as: Worthy of confidence, dependable, tried-and-true. “Honesty” can be defined as: Telling the truth. These two qualities are becoming scarce in all quarters in the 21st century … to our deep loss.

David Horsager (The Trust Edge: How Top Leaders Gain Faster Results, Deeper Relationships, and a Stronger Bottom Line) found that, in a study across all major industries, with 12,750 U.S. workers participating, “Companies with high trust levels generated total returns to shareholders at almost three times that of companies with low levels of trust.”

Stephen R. Covey, writing in the foreword to his son’s book, The Speed of Trust, compares trust to an aquifer that feeds innovation, collaboration, empowerment, in fact all strategic initiatives.

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