In Michael K. Farr’s book, Restoring Our American Dream, he spends a good deal of print on the importance of trust. He drives home his point by exploring how trust is eroded and the challenge of earning trust, especially after it has eroded. In specific, he addresses what went wrong with the financial meltdown of 2008 and what is needed to get the U.S. financially back on track.
His macro lessons are applicable to any organization, any business, any CEO. Have you considered the importance of owning the trust of your organization? Without it, your business is crippled, not capable of achieving anything near its potential. So, if you have lost the trust of key employees, what can you do?
First, examine your own commitment to the strength of your enterprise. Do you hold yourself responsible for your CEO accountabilities? If not, a correction is needed. Either you accept that role in its entirety, or you punt – that is, you sell or close the business. Why would accepting your CEO role ever be a challenge for an intrepid entrepreneur like yourself? Well, maybe you’re going through a form of burnout. Maybe the long hours and negative results in recent years are taking a toll. Or maybe a personal situation has temporarily overwhelmed you. Whatever the cause, you need to sort it out and determine whether you want to stay the course, tiller firmly in hand.
Having decided to stay in the game, you now need to again give your key employees reason for hope. Keep in mind that you probably lost their trust in the first place because you caused their vision of their own future to dim. They now need to see you back in the game, fully engaged, leading the charge. Take steps to make your renewed commitment very visible.
The final element for reestablishing trust is the restoration of your personal vision. Sometimes this is the first step. More often, it evolves after you recommit to your business and begin providing visible evidence of same. In order to sustain your “trust recovery”, you need that inner compass to kick in again.
This is not an easy road to travel. But travel it you must, if you intend to stay in the game.