Trust-Building Behavior #6 – Deliver Results
One of the most valuable things my first coach and mentor taught me is that in assessing where we are, we must look honestly at our results. We have a tendency to focus on everything but our results. We look at what we meant to do (called by some people “intention”); or the actions we took to get there (called by many “trying”); or we deliver substandard results. Below are some tips for building trust through delivering results.
1. Talk Less/Produce More
What matters to people is not how great you make your product sound. At the end of the day, what matters is what you actually produce. There is no need to sell people on how great you are if can show them. If you need to explain, you probably did not deliver.
Think about the people you know who have made agreements with you and they come through, repeatedly with no excuses made. For example, if I am on time every time I meet you, this builds trust with you. So much so that, if I am late you will believe something is wrong and probably check in with me, knowing it is an anomaly. But if I am frequently late, often with explanation about how hard I “tried” and I continue promising that I will surely be on time next time, you will not trust me to be on time; nor will you trust what I say. And when I am late, you will go about your business without thinking there is anything wrong because you have assessed me based on my performance, not my promise. This is how we learn and how we assess – based on results and not on promises. Often when people have a history of not delivering, they talk more and more — they explain why they didn’t deliver, they rationalize and justify; and they zealously promise again, telling us why we should believe them. Sometimes we do believe them, and trust is broken even more. In this series, I have pointed to the red flags that tell us we are breaking trust. Here is one now – if you find you are needing to use a lot of words to convince a person why they should believe you will deliver on a promise, you likely have a low level of trust with that person.
2. The Trust Account
Stephen M.R. Covey (The Speed of Trust) talks about a “trust account,” which is similar to a bank account. The more trustworthy you are & the more of these trust building behaviors you exhibit, the higher your trust account will be and the more you will be trusted. When your trust account is high there are other benefits as well. This is particularly true with your co-workers, employees and children. Imagine an employee who delivers on an ongoing promise week after week. Compare her with an employee you must remind to carry out the promise each week. Then imagine each comes to you asking for an accommodation, or a special exception. Which are you likely to work with? Why is that? We are more likely to allow the special exception to a person who delivers because we believe she will deliver on this as well. For the employee with the sketchy track record, we may fear it will do more harm than good to extend special exceptions because we don’t know if he will deliver or not.
3. Clear Expectations
Another thing to be aware of are situations where we are delivering results, but we do not seem to be building trust. Often this is due to unclear expectations. For example, when the boss has a list of projects for you to do and you work diligently on the one that is not most important to her. Your belief is you are delivering results, but in her eyes, you are delivering the wrong results. It is important that your communication be clear upfront so you know what the other person actually wants.
4. Be Sure you can Deliver
Always ask yourself if the promise you are making is realistic before you make it. Getting in a habit of overpromising and underdelivering is a sure way to break trust. (See more in trust-building behavior #12 — Keep Commitments.)
5. Activities vs. Results
Yoda said, “Do or do not; there is not ‘try.’” Often we point to our activities as an excuse for not delivering results. But people do not really care how much you do. They care what you deliver. Learn to distinguish for yourself the difference between what you do and what you deliver – activities from results. If you do not deliver on a promise, be upfront and honest about it. (More on this later in trust-building behavior #10 – Practice Accountability.) Do not talk about what you did.
Deliver results in your life in the things that you feel are important – whether anyone else considers them important or not. Set goals and make them happen. You also build trust with yourself by delivering results, and by being honest when you look at what you have done and what you have manifested and assess your progress honestly on the basis of your results.
This week look honestly and neutrally only at your results. Begin to be very curious with yourself – why am I delivering results here and not here? It is a process to learn and to make improvements, building trust along the way!