Trust: Difficult to earn, easy to lose.


When we interview clients to understand why they choose to work with Aspira, the single biggest factor that comes back is trust – they trust we will do what we say and they trust us not to focus on just winning more business with them.

For many years my definition of how to build Trust was ‘to demonstrate consistency between words and actions’.  Recently I read about ‘the Trust Equation’, (Ref David Maister).  This equation lists four factors – reliability, credibility, intimacy and self-orientation.

While my previous definition focussed on just one of the elements – reliability, I was under-estimating the importance of credibility and I was ignoring the two emotional elements in the equation – intimacy and (lack of) self-orientation.

So how can we use this definition to build more Trust?  Well, one thing you cannot do is come up with a tagline that says “trust me”.  I am in fact more likely to distrust someone who declares their trustworthiness as their main attribute.

So in order to convey your organization can be trusted, you need to get across 4 messages:

  • Credibility – as evidenced by experience, thought leadership and track record
  • Reliability – as evidenced by case studies and measurable results
  • Intimacy – as evidenced by client testimonials and collaborative case studies
  • (lack of) Self Orientation – as evidenced by messaging that does not say “look how great we are” but instead says “look at the great things our Clients have achieved, with some help from us”

Trust has to be earned, but trustworthiness can be conveyed!  One of the goals of our marketing efforts in Aspira for 2020 is to use this approach to share the great things our clients have achieved.



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