“No one got fired for buying an IBM machine.”

This old saying states in very clear words the importance of trust in decision-making process. Whether you are making a personal decision or a business decision, knowingly or unknowingly, trust has a say in it. It is a confidence building factor which helps you make a decision and defend it when something goes wrong.

In case of a business, trust has multiple impact areas. Your sales efforts get a big shot in the arm if your prospective customers trust you. You get the best talent to work with you and the best advisers to guide you. It is one thing that can have an amazing ripple effect in everything from valuation of your company to your reputation in the industry to your success.

The importance of trust highlights a very important thing about businesses that we often overlook. Businesses are often treated as entities. But this puts the human element of businesses front and center. You are a human being and you deal with other human beings. By nature there is skepticism in trying new things, in believing in new technology and in relying on new people. But when you do go for it and get results as expected (or better than expected), an amazing thing happens. You feel good about making the right decision and eventually develop trust for what was back in the day a new thing.

Trust has three very important properties. It is contagious, it reciprocates and it is fragile. In order to be successful, you need to work on all of them. You need an initial set of mavens who trust you and are willing to vouch for you. You need to have an open enough mindset to trust others, partner with them and work with them. And most important, you should be careful about not breaking the trust of others. It’s something that takes a lifetime to build and seconds to destroy!

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