Building Trust 52 Dealing With Failure

Most of us have dealt with a trust failure at some point in our life. It can be devastating because trust is so precious and difficult to build.

Earlier in this series of trust articles, I shared a piece with a couple of examples of extreme betrayal and the process to use to either end the relationship or repair it to be stronger than ever.  

In this article, I want to address the less severe types of trust let-downs that we experience from time to time.  I will discuss some best practices and some things to avoid doing.  I will use the example of a friend who had agreed to proofread a draft of a book I had written and provide an endorsement.

The normal time for such an activity would be one or two weeks.  When I had not heard anything for five weeks, I became concerned.  Perhaps the person had become distracted or was sick or something. He may have put the project on his back burner and was busy doing other things. There also could have been an unexpected event.

What to Do:  First Order of Business

As soon as you suspect something isn’t working according to plan, the first thing to do is act; do not procrastinate hoping things will get better. You are holding a dead fish that stinks, and the stench will only get worse with time.

Open up a friendly dialog to check on the status of the project.  No need to be combative or disrespectful, just inquire how the work is progressing and if the person has an estimate for when he will be finished.

This low key and unassuming approach will at least get the flow of information going. The other person might not have understood the short term nature of the project and had put the job on hold for summertime to come around.  

Next Step: Renegotiate the Delivery

Work with the other person to identify a reasonable timeframe for delivery.  Once you have a commitment date, it is a good idea to have a short verification note in the email. This action will ensure a tight agreement between both of you.

The note also gives you prior permission to check up if the job slips beyond the new delivery date. 

What if the Pattern Persists

If you are dealing with a person who has a habit of missing presumed deadlines, then you want to put all future agreements in writing so you have a firm commitment documented.

Bob Whipple is CEO of Leadergrow, Inc. an organization dedicated to growing leaders. Website   BLOG He is author of the following books: The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals,  Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online, and Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind

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