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Home 2014 Editions August, 2014 Where Is Trust Today?

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How many times a day do you hear it? “You have to trust me on this,” advertising claims of being a “trusted source,” and on and on.

Trust is a word that’s used everywhere today. In fact, at the risk of being trite, I’d say it’s overused. It seems today that it’s more of a saying than a word with actual meaning. It used to be that when someone said, “You can trust that it will be done,” it got done. Completing the task was taken as a personal commitment and a reflection of the person who made the commitment’s integrity. I think this literal meaning of the word has been lost today.

The 2014 edition of Webster’s defines trust as: “The belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc.” In 1828, Noah Webster defined trust as: “Confidence; a reliance or resting of the mind on the integrity, veracity, justice, friendship or other sound principle of another person.”

The differences in the old definition and new definition are subtle, but they’re there. The original version talks about integrity, justice and friendship. The current version relies on the phrase “etc.” to allow the reader to fill in what it means. In a way, Webster’s is trusting us to complete the thought. That seems a bit scary to me considering what goes on today.

In business, there needs to be a certain element of trust. When we contract or agree to purchase a good or service from someone, there’s an implied trust that commitments will be upheld on both sides and goods and services will be delivered and paid for. It all sounds simple until greed or dishonesty clouds the deal. I think greed is what drives most of the cloudiness. In today’s large, consolidated business entities, Wall Street plays a huge role in this trust stretching. There’s such intense pressure to deliver increasingly higher returns that good judgment gets in the way. Then, large corporate structure allows individuals to hide behind the veil of the corporation and, voilÀ! Dishonesty, truth stretching and trust stretching prevail.

The lesson for business owners is: most of us repair vehicles one car at a time, and our business is a reflection of our relationship and commitment to our customers. How is your trust with your customers and suppliers? Can they count on you? What about your employees?

In the end, the only real difference you or I can make is with our own integrity. I can assure you of one thing, though: if your customers and employees trust you, and your suppliers trust you as a business partner, you’ll be a more successful businessperson.

Join the revolution, step out there and be trustworthy and trusted.

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Body Shop Business Staff Writers

Body Shop Business Staff Writers