Why do they jump?

They trust us.

What if we don’t catch them?

They fall and the trust is broken. Trust is easier get than it is to repair.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to try to gain our trust. The one who secures the most trust in the primaries, will have an opportunity to spend millions of dollars to try win enough trust to be our next President. Buying our trust is very expensive.

Corporations too spend billions of dollars every year buying our trust. They want us to trust them enough to try their product or service.

Yet, in spite of the very high cost of buying trust, politicians and corporations will casually violate and lose our trust. Why do they pay so much to gain something so valuable only to toss it away almost as soon as they get it?

The answer to that question is simple. They forget.

They forget how fragile trust is. They forget about the fragility of trust because they are too focused on acquiring trust. The politician constantly reviews poll data to understand what builds trust. The corporation is focuses on advertising programs to build trust. Say the right thing, act the right way, present a solution to a particular problem or appeal to a ‘want’ and the masses will choose you or your product. They forget that is trust they are seeking. The want votes or sales. Those things can be measured.

All the focus is placed on finding the magic key to open the door of wild success. Few actually find the magic key.

Few find it because few can see it. That’s because most marketers are looking for the formula to manipulate behavior in their favor instead of working to build our trust. It’s a tempting approach because there are formulas that will improve results slightly. Certainly, we imagine, if a formula improves results by a little, a better formula will improve results by a lot.

But that’s like adding salt to a soup. A little makes it better so a lot must make it much better. The soup just gets too salty. So, we add something else. Then too much of that. Soon we’ve got a salty and bitter broth no one wants. One taste and the demand for our soup is gone no matter how much we spend advertising it.

Trust. When Hillary tells a story about landing at an airport under sniper fire and bravely flees for cover only to be proven a liar when we watch a child hand her a flower on the tarmac, she loses very expensive trust. When companies tell us about the great service we’ll get if we ever need it and then keep us on hold for an hour when we call for help, they lose our trust.

Building trust is cheap. But here’s the rub. It takes character and integrity to build trust. Ethics. Ethical behavior based on character and integrity is the key to building trust. But, if the politician or company does not have the integrity, it cannot see the key.

Until we change our motivators from greed and power to character and integrity, we will see our government continue to make bad choices and our businesses decline.

The good news is that those who decide to change, will reap benefits. You’ll clearly stand out as different. You’ll clearly be the better choice.

Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog
[email protected]