We were discussing the PLI Essential of Integrity today and we developed a Trust Scale. Every effective leader understands and uses trust power to positively influence others. This trust scale doesn't speak to the importance of trust - it is always important. This scale helps us examine and conceptualize the impact of trust when it is lost. The Fujita Scale is how they rate the wind speed and thus the destructive force of tornadoes. F1 - lowest speeds/limited damage. F5 - highest speeds/dog is in the next state. The Trust Scale is rated from T1 - impact of trust loss is low to T5 - you might as well physically be in the barn pictured here.
When you lose trust with someone, the way you can rate the impact is based on your present shared interests and on the level of connections that person has that you have vested interests in. So, if I lose trust with a stranger in Portland because I didn't let them have that cab, that is a T1. However, if I lose trust with my wife or with a key client that is heavily connected in my niche market, that is a T5.
The primary reason for rating the lost trust is to know what to do next. If you just had a T1 come through your life, apologize and move on. If a T5 blows you to New Zealand, you have some serious damage control to do.
However, there are two secrets that the most effective and influential leaders know and leverage.
- Someone might be a T1 today, but a T5 tomorrow. That is why the maintaining of trust across all levels of relationships is vital to a leader's ability to grow and strengthen their personal influence.
- Trust has a cumulative effect. A year's worth of T1's can have a very destructive force. And in terms of my preference, I would rather work with someone who causes one F5 in our relationship, learns from it and regains my trust than someone who continually throws F1's my way. The reason for this is that I judge people's performance based on what they do habitually, not on what they do one or two times.