Trust is a Mighty Big Word

Trust 1Trust is the stuff that holds people together. It protects us from all sorts of daily calamities and allows us to move forward without always having to look over our shoulders.  If we can’t trust the people closest to us, family, friends and co-workers then it becomes almost impossible to lead a satisfying life. Trust isn’t just another word, it’s not an idealistic goal which can’t be obtained in “real life.” Trust – or a lack of it – matters and it matters in everything we do and say.

If people are to have healthy relationships, trust must be more than something that is talked about; it must be at the center of everything they do. In business it’s trust that make the “relationship” in a business relationship possible.

Trust is the foundation of all effective leadership; if your people can’t trust you they absolutely will not follow you. They may give the appearance of following you but real trust will take the leader/follower relationship past appearances into true commitment. When your people are committed to you great stuff happens. Morale improves, problems are solved, productivity increases and more leaders are developed.

You can buy yourself a dog but you must earn the wag of its tail. It’s the same with trust, a leader can hire, pay and promote an employee but the trust must still be earned. It must be earned and re-earned every day. When a leader violates the trust of their people the fabric of the organization becomes torn and over time, often very little time, the morale of the organization erodes away.

When a leader does what they say they will, credibility follows.  When credibility is present, integrity can grow. When integrity grows, trust flourishes.

Effective leaders don’t let trust happen, they make trust happen. They proactively demonstrate trust by making certain that their words match their actions. They hold themselves to a higher standard than others; quickly admitting to a mistake and accepting often more than the responsibility due.

Effective leaders know they don’t earn trust by leading, they must earn the trust before they can lead. Effective leaders trust others and show it by giving them the opportunity to succeed.

What have you done in the past 30 days to earn the trust of those you would lead? It’s a question that great leaders ask themselves and ask themselves often. So…..



Why I Give Away My Money

Many  bundle of US 100 dollars bank notesI’ve always found it pretty easy to make money. Lots of lots of money. I made my first million at 12 years of age selling Ice Cold Lemonade at the Minnesota State Fair. I had so many return customers that I got to know them by name and I soon discovered that the more I used their name, the bigger the tips I seemed to received.

It took several more years but even with the normal teenage chores of grass-cutting and homework I was able to parley that first million into nearly 10 million dollars by the time I graduated from high school. Truth be told, it would have been exactly $10,000,000 if I hadn’t had to repay my dad for the $12 in seed money he loaned me to start the lemonade stand.

I mostly invested that money during my college years but some of those investments really paid off and by the time I had a college degree I also had 25 millions dollars to go with it.

Speaking of college, I watched my classmates invent stuff for something called “the Internet” and World Wide Web and I had no idea what that was. It just didn’t seem like something that would catch on to me and I’m still wondering if the whole Internet thing isn’t just a passing fad.

They laughed at me when I invented a little blue pill in the science lab but I got the last laugh…. I sold that formula for 100 million and still get royalties for it to this very day.

Sometime in my twenties it became apparent that I would always have more money than I would ever need, so I started giving it away. I figured I’ve given away almost 300 million so far. I’ve given money to almost every “cause” you can think of.

I gave 20 million to a guy in Australia that I met on a plane. He was doing research to determine if it was possible to use ants to turn turbines that would generate enough energy to power Sydney without the additional use of energy from the power grid.

I’m not sure has that worked out, but when I was in Sydney I had electricity in my hotel room so maybe he pulled it off.

I gave a college kid out east 50 bucks several years ago to start some social networking thing… He called it Face something…. I wonder how that turned out for him?

I still give away loads of money today. As you can imagine there are lots of people who need help. So many in fact that I just can’t verify the legitimacy of their request. Because of those limitations I limit the amount I will give to an initial amount of $500,000. If they do well with the initial investment I give them more. If they don’t make money with it or let me know how they are doing I can get very stingy in a hurry. They won’t get more from me.

My one regret is that it can take a while for me to respond to everyone. Sometimes a week or more. So if you have a request please be patient and in the meantime, have a wonderful April Fools Day!