I’ve always found our military to be one of the most interesting case studies when considering organizational architecture and success. The military goes against 95% of concepts I tend to accept as the future of organizational structures. However, there’s one aspect of the military I think goes beyond any organizational structure, which leads to complete success. The notion that a man or women would do anything for the human being they’re serving alongside is a concept of servant leadership, many organizations can’t even begin to grasp.

Trust. In America, we are victims to the love of sports. According to Gallup, 63% of Americans consider themselves a sports fan and if you ask any individual during a playoff (of any sport), the percentage increases. We love the story especially when it involves an underdog. You don’t even have to like that particular sport. I’m not a fan of basketball, hockey or horseracing but yet I found myself watching parts of all three this past weekend. One component of sports is the level of trust we give to sports franchises. When the New England Patriots got caught cheating, every Patriots fan claimed their innocence without hearing the facts. We trust sports teams like we trust our own family members and depending on your family, maybe more.

I find it amazing that we can work for an organization for so many years and never trust the organization. It can be said the same for management or leaders within the organization. They can have the same employee doing incredible work for many years but never give them a level of trust both parties could benefit from. Trust in organizations are lacking considerably in our country and could ultimately be the difference between supreme success and failure.

According to a Watson Wyatt study, “high trust organizations out perform low trust organizations by 286% as a total return to shareholders.” This is a complete game changer when considering the possibilities of increasing profits and retention, and decreasing turnover and underperformance. According to the book “Speed of Trust,” there are 7 low and high-trust organizational taxes to consider.

Low-Trust Taxes
High-Trust Taxes
Increase Value
Accelerated Growth
Enhanced Innovation
Improved Collaboration
Stronger Partnering
Better Execution
Heightening Loyalty







For many organizations, they might be doing well at a variety of these attributes. It’s essential we take each of these attributes seriously as we’re working to increase trust within our organization. INC.com developed some great steps to increase trust within an organization.

  1. Client Focused
  2. Collaboration
  3. Transparency
  4. Timeframe

Each of these items will create a new level of trust within your organization and in return your clients will also develop a new level of trust for their partnership with you. The first three items listed here are easy to understand but not necessarily always easy to implemented. Timeframe can be a bit confusing at times. The author makes the notion to focus on the long-term relationship and not just the transactional relationship of closing the sale. As we identified earlier, churn is an important metric when considering trust. Some retention experts say acquiring a new customer vs. keeping a current customer can cost as much as 500% higher. It’s essential to build long-lasting relationships.

Inc.com continues by giving three strong ideas for implementing trust as part of your company culture’s strategy.

  1. Capability trust, or allowing people to make decisions, involving them in discussions, and trusting that their opinions and input will be useful.
  2. Contractual trust, or being consistent in terms of keeping agreements and managing expectations.
  3. Communication trust, or sharing information, providing constructive feedback and speaking with good purpose about people.

Your employees must feel as if they are trusted to make decisions, share ideas, and respected. Often times, leaders of an organization will feel it’s appropriate to consider their time more valuable than their employees. This is not part of a trusted environment. Just as we are to keep promises internally, it’s essential we do the same with our clients and make sure our information is accurate.

Trust within organizations is a cultural change and at times against the norm. Organically develop this culture and allow it to spread throughout the organizations. It can turn a company upside down for the better.