Bay Area Inbound Marketing Blog

Building Trust from Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Posted by Laurie Monahan on Wed, Aug 26, 2020 @ 01:03 PM

I love this old quote that we use often in Sales, the goal is always to "under promise and over deliver." 

Just read another couple of chapters from Stephen R. Covey's, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and wanted to share a few highlights I read from the section on building trust with other people.

These principles are true about our relationships with anyone really.

The Goal is Interdependence

Interdependence let's us work together to achieve success for EVERYONE on the team. 

Begin with the End in Mind

IMG_2645-1Covey says, when planning your life or making short or long-term decisions, think about where your actions will take you. 

Filling someone's emotional bank account helps them to trust you and forgive you when you do something that hurts their feelings. This can be particularly important when it comes to helping your adolescents through their toughest years of making decisions. If they don't trust you, they won't necessarily listen to your more experienced opinion when there is something really important at stake.

To listen, they have to have overall faith in your character and track record of how you have treated them.

Covey Talks About Six Deposits You Can Make in People

1. Understanding the Individual

You may think you are making a deposit, when you are really making a withdrawal, if you don't first seek to understand what that person cares about. 

2. Attending to the Little Things

Finding ways to show genuine care for someone else can come in unexpected ways. Great story, Covey took his six-year-old son and four-year-old son to a movie, and when the four-year-old fell asleep, he put his coat over him and continued watching the movie with his older son. When they arrived home and he was asking his six-year-old how he liked the movie, he got an unenthusiastic response. The child turned away and teared up a little and asked, "If I was cold, would you give me your coat too?"

People like to feel that they are loved and cared for no matter how old they are.

3. Keeping Commitments

Nothing can ruin trust faster than promising to do something and failing to keep that promise. People build their hopes around promises. Covey emphasizes this is a huge withdrawal, and that you can't really do enough other things to make deposits if you fail to keep your commitments to people over and over again. If you do fail to keep a promise, then a lot of effort has to be put in to make that up to someone. It's better to just not promise things you aren't in a position to do.

4. Clarifying Expectations

If there isn't a written and discussed job description, then you could be working hard, but not meeting expectations because your boss has a different idea of what you should be doing. Writing things down keeps everyone honest and doesn't let a project shape-shift in someone's mind. That's why taking meeting notes is important too, because individuals discuss and agree to things, but can come at things from different perspectives, so writing down what was said and distributing notes, let's people clarify before getting too far down the road of working in the wrong direction toward the wrong goals.

5. Showing Personal Integrity

Don't talk about any one who isn't there in a negative way. Instead, if there is a problem, agree to put together a plan to ask the other person to make needed changes. People who confront, rather than bad-mouth behind other people's backs, will have the trust of everyone. Maintaining trust with the one who isn't there, builds trust with the ones who are there.

6. Apologizing Sincerely When You Make a Withdrawal

Covey talks about how you treat the one, will determine how everyone else feels you will treat the many; For example, if a teacher overly-harshly disciplines a kid who is causing a little trouble, all the rest of the kids lose trust for the teacher.

Covey shares the story of when he was treating someone harshly, his own son would doubt his Father's love for him and ask him, "Dad, do you love me?" 

Trust is built with the many by how you treat the one.

Great Deposits Come in Sincere Words

Giving someone an apology when you realize that you have spoken too harshly, or you have broken trust by forgetting an engagement, or worst, not keeping a promise, or any other kind of huge withdrawal from someone's emotional bank account.

Covey says it's best to admit it and say it if you messed up, not try to justify what happened in terms of someone else's sharing the blame:

"I was wrong."

"That was unkind of me."

"I showed no respect."

"I gave you no dignity, and I'm deeply sorry."

"I embarrassed you in front of your friends and I had no call to do that. Even though I wanted to make a point, I never should have done it. I apologize."

If you are going to bow, bow low," says Eastern wisdom.

"Pay the uttermost farthing," says the Christian ethic.

To be a deposit, an apology must be sincere, and it must be perceived as sincere.

Leo Roskin taught, "It is the weak who are cruel. Gentleness can only be expected from the strong." 

Interdependence (working well together for everyone's success) can only be achieved when you have good relationships.

These are all good things for me to keep in mind when dealing with my own family and coworkers.


Laurie is principle at BAI marketing consultants. We specialize in digital campaigns to help tech companies quickly answer objections in the sales funnel and increase revenue inexpensively.

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