Created by Susanne Stock

#favouritemodel No. 6 - How trust is built

My #favouritemodel is the tree metaphor by Stephen M.R. Covey. This symbolism makes the topic of "trust" tangible and thus facilitates access to this emotional playing field in the corporate context. The metaphor compares the development of trust or trustworthiness with a tree.

The roots of the tree stand for integrity:
Integrity lies hidden - in the roots of the tree - and forms the origin to create trust and credibility. Integrity means being honest. But it also means doing what you say (walk the talk!) and following up your words with the corresponding actions, i.e. being "congruent". Integrity means having the courage to act according to one's values and beliefs.

The trunk of the tree stands for the intention:
The trunk of the tree is already becoming more visible and growing from the roots. Intention is about the personal agenda, one's motives - and the resulting behaviour. Trust in a person grows when his or her motives are transparent - and when these motives are not only directed towards the good of the person or individual groups. If we suspect a so-called "hidden agenda", we become suspicious and observe very closely what the other person says and how they act.

The branches of the tree stand for skills:
Our skills, knowledge and talents are also important factors in establishing trust. They are the means to achieve good results and to keep agreements. For example, a doctor may have as much integrity and positive intentions as he or she may have - if he or she lacks the skills and experience to perform an important examination or operation, he or she will still lack trustworthiness in the end.

The fruits of the tree stand for the results:
The performance, the results we eventually achieve are the fruits of the tree - what we and others see at the end as a visible and tangible result. If we don't do the things that are expected of us, it reduces our credibility. And vice versa: If we do the things we have promised to do, we gain high credibility and other people see us as reliable and productive.

How does my #favouritemodel help you?

All 4 components of the trust tree are essential to build trust and credibility. In the first step, it helps to reflect on yourself using the 4 components of the tree:

Integrity: What do I stand for? What are my values and beliefs? Do my actions correspond to my inner values?

Intention: What is important to me? What do I want to achieve? To what extent is this transparent to others? How do I deal with other people's needs and try to find compromises or win-win solutions?

Skills: What are my strengths? What skills do I want to contribute?

Results: What results are important to me? What have I promised other people? How do I deal with it when I realise that I can no longer keep what I have promised?

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