A wise woman once said to me that respect is earned, honesty is appreciated, trust is gained and loyalty is returned. It was part of a conversation we were having about a bicycle accident in a park. I realised much later in life that this advice applied to all aspects of life. Particularly in business.

… when did you ever buy something from or have business relationships with someone you didn’t trust?

This applies to business Triple Bottom Line. Employees who trust their boss are more satisfied, more committed and feel more fairly treated in overall decision making. Likewise, suppliers, customers, local communities, business partners and others are more likely to engage with you and your business.

I doubt you’ve bought something from a person you didn’t trust. And, if you did, you did it just to jettison yourself out of his or her orbit. I bet this transaction was a one-off never-to-be-repeated event. Not good or sustainable business practice and touches on a number of things.

Trust is critical in all commercial interactions – customers, clients, employees and other stakeholders – to keep the business wheels rolling. Then the purpose of communication is to earn and nurture trust, not just provide corporatespeak and tick a box.

Walk the talk

It’s too easy to produce nice words in sexy fonts, partner them with some cool, symbolic imagery and post. The challenge, of course, is to walk the talk. Trust cannot be bought or forced upon people. It is earned and every interaction with, between and from stakeholders offers to build relationships and nurture trust. This manifests in a consistent and believable narrative that parallels the company’s stated values. When customers know and feel you have their best interests in mind, they will want to interact freely with you. This is sustainable and affirms your proven commitment to accountability and transparency.

I have worked in environments that walk the talk and others that generate reams and reams of vanilla, empty statements. Guess which is doing better?

When organisations do what they promise, their brand becomes more robust and trust grows. This is what we at Abode aim for. We want to make meaningful human connections and be as believable as possible.

Learn from mistakes… and move on

Ok, sometimes it doesn’t work out as hoped. But we hope that by viewing our clients as people, we hope to improve and grow our business. As we continue along this trajectory, we need feedback. This way, we know we are doing the right thing, at the right time and that we listen. We need to learn from our mistakes… and move on. Feedback is always welcome. We know we are not perfect, but we want to give it a damn good shot.

So… the woman in the park was right… RESPECT IS EARNED… it is best to aim to be consistent and genuine. It is important to align daily actions with business values. But it is also ok to make mistakes, own up to them, accept them and move on.

Frequently asked questions