Bimbo Banter

The Ten Laws of Trust: Important Lessons from a Great Leader

  • Leadership
  • July 27, 2016
  • by Merrie Spaeth

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Joel Peterson, the chairman of JetBlue and former managing partner of the Trammell Crow Company (full disclosure, we worked for Joel for a number of years in the 1990s) has written a slim but important book distilling his decades of work experience into an eloquent plea for business leaders to pursue policies and actions that value and stimulate trust.

Stephen Covey pens the forward with the endorsement that trust is an economic driver. We also thoroughly endorse this book and its credo. All our work in corporate communications and politics reinforces that trust is the most valuable coin of the realm. If people trust you, they will work with you, follow you and forgive you. The last sentiment, and the last chapter of the book (were that it were the first!) resonates with me because of the very public experience and subject of a DCEO cover story, “The Fixer,” I had with someone dear to me.

Peterson’s last chapter deals with how betrayal stings, but that it is possible, albeit hard, to restore trust. His final observation is worth buying the book for your CEO, your head of HR, your General Counsel and the head of Risk Management; Peterson writes, “Carefully managing risk is worth the effort.” There are also many examples of companies doing the right thing and reaping the rewards. Here are a few other gems we found:

- Trust is violated when there’s a gap between what a leader says and does.

- Assume the best. (This resonated with us because we’re fans of Senn Delaney’s advice, “Assume positive intent.”)

- There’s a difference between a mission and a mission statement.

- Keep everyone informed. That means “words, action and words again.” Obviously, as the Word Gurus, we promote this belief.

- As trust declines, people grab power.

- Tolerating disrespect allows it to spread.

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