7 Questions on HOW to take Trust to the Next Level

by  Sonia Di Maulo  |  Leadership Development

The Trust Center

Microsoft has a Trust Center… shouldn’t we have one too? What services would a Trust Center for people have? Wouldn’t it be great if we could control what people say and do to facilitate the trusting process? What about controlling which people approach us or what locations we visit to allow a constant state of trust? A Utopian ideal?

Trust equals Security… At least that is the case at the Trust Centers within Microsoft’s various 2007 Office applications.  Microsoft’s welcome message explains… ” The Trust Center is where you can find security and privacy settings…”. Here I can make decisions about if I trust and whom I trust.

Here’s my take on how to take Microsoft’s Trust Center to the next level; it’s not about if you trust, it’s about how you trust! Being a control freak could have it’s benefits if you want to live in a bubble… realistically speaking we need to step up our level of awareness and look at trust in a new light.

Here are seven questions to get us started. Ask yourself:

  1. HOW can I get people to trust me more?
  2. HOW can I show others that I trust them? What actions would enable a stronger connection? Stronger collaboration?
  3. HOW can I get people to trust each other? What could I say and do?
  4. HOW can I look at my work, home, or community environments to better identify where the lack of trust impacts the relationships?
  5. HOW can I say things that will bring people on my team? HOW can I act?
  6. HOW do I interpret actions and words? Does this allow me to facilitate/block trust?

Looking at the HOW has it’s benefits! Here’s a great example and a true story…

Getting to Dubai on Trust and Collaboration

In March I flew to Dubai to facilitate a 5-day workshop on presentation skills and instructional techniques for Emirates trainers. The workshop was a huge success and the experience we created was exceptional.  That was the easy part!  Getting to Dubai called for me to look at how to trust and not if to trust. That was the hard part!

Two days before my departure, I still did not have tickets or a visa. Finally with paperwork in order, I did not realize that this was only the start of the ordeal. On the day of departure, a snowstorm on the east coast cancelled my flight to New York.  I called my client in Dubai… they were on it.  I emailed my contact in Montreal and Geneva, they were on it.  No flights out!

How can I stay positive and make this trip a success? How can I trust the airline industry to get me to Dubai to do what I do?

With a new flight through London for later that day, I thought the worst had passed!  Little did I know that the worst was yet to come! Additional flight delays on my new flight meant I would not make the connection in London to Dubai. Back on the phone… at this point everyone had gone home for the day.

I kept telling myself, it’s not about if, it’s about how.
How can I get the check-in agent to trust me and this story? How can I explain this calmly and respectfully (understanding her perspective) so that she gets me out on a flight and checks my bags through to final destination (even without a confirmed flight out of London to Dubai)?

Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? Well, I decided to give it a try! I put my faith in the system and it’s people.  I explained my situation… and managed to get on the only flight out to London and the amazing attendant also checked my baggage through to my final destination!  Being calm, confident and respectful, instead of frustrated and desperate helped!

The situation was scary for about an hour… What got me through was my focus on the how!

A simple shift in perspective allowed me to see things from their perspective… this helped me to create a bridge from my frustration/stress/anger to a place where I could cultivate trust and collaboration.  The team effort, emails, phone calls, respectful conversations, and focus on trust got me to Dubai!  Of course Air Canada, Emirates, and IATA staff helped!

What About You?

  • Can you think of an event where your focus on the if caused the situation to go from bad to awful?
  • How could these seven questions have helped you be successful?
  • What situations are you in where trust in the team is the only way to success?
  • How can these seven simple questions help you cultivate trust and collaboration in your workplace?

Sonia is currently attending and speaking at the 2011 annual conference for the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) (see www.ISPI.org for more info). She is accepting an award, on behalf of her team, for Outstanding Instructional Intervention and is delivering 3 sessions, including a session entitled “Leaders, Get your Teams Ready to Feedback”, where she explores the concepts of trust and collaboration when offering and accepting feedback.

What’s Next? Please leave a comment below to join the conversation…

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What People Are Saying

Georgia Feiste  |  15 Apr 2011  |  Reply

Sonia – Fabulous post! And, it fit right in with a conversation I had with my Spiritual Growth Group last week. We talked about trust, not only in others, but in ourselves. We came to the conclusion that if you believe that the Universe works, you can trust unconditionally. We then tried to break it down (of course if you get a bunch of introspective introverts in a room, you always get to break it down ). We realized that even when things aren’t working, they are working. Therefore, dealing with the issues of moving from a life that just curled in on you, to straightening it out as best you can, becomes a lesson in knowing that nothing is insurmountable – it is just a matter of respect, patience, and laughter: because all is well with the world!



Sonia Di Maulo  |  19 Apr 2011  |  Reply


All is well with the world… a perspective that helps us move forward towards unified success! Staying positive has so many benefits! As a leader, it helps us see solutions and it helps us bring the best out of people… every one of us has the potential to do good; and it’s easier to do good for people who respect and understand you?

Glad you liked this post! I had a great time writing it and sharing my perspective.


Charles H. Green  |  15 Apr 2011  |  Reply

Major big Good On You! 100% of what I do centers on trust, and you have hit on some Big Insights in this blogpost.

1. The best way to get someone to trust you is to trust them. You is overt in your second question, and provides a big part of the answer to the first. Trust is a reciprocal relationship between one who trusts, and one who is trusted. One leads, the other follows, then the roles switch.

2. Your rephrasing away from ‘if’ to ‘how’ is also very right. “Trust” is not some static quality; we all engage in dozens of things every day that either create trust or leave things alone (less frequently we engage in things that destroy trust). All your ‘how’s’ are challenges to get proactive rather than passive.

3. There is no trust without risk. If you always avoid risk, you will never create trust. But in your numbers 5 and 6 begin to get at this.

In my own work (I co-wrote The Trusted Advisor, wrote Trust-based Selling, founded Trusted Advisor Associates), I helped develop the Trust Equation: trustworthiness is a function of credibility, reliability, intimacy and low self-orientation. Read more about all that (and find out your Trust Quotient) on the site trustedadvisor.com.

I applaud your courage and insight in tackling the Middle East trip with the spirit you did. You not only learned from doing that but you have taught from writing about it.


Sonia Di Maulo  |  19 Apr 2011  |  Reply


Thank YOU for this wonderful comment and for taking the post a step further. Your insights and links to further our understanding of trust (and HOW to cultivate it) is extremely valuable. I already checked out your Trust Quiz and look forward to exploring more.

I look forward to staying in touch!


Susan Mazza  |  19 Apr 2011  |  Reply

Great story Sonia. Love how the Microsoft trust site stimulated this thought process on taking ownership of creating trust and the value of doing so.. Congratulations on a successful journey on all fronts!

Sonia Di Maulo  |  19 Apr 2011  |  Reply

Thanks, Susan, for reading and leaving a comment!

Yes, when I saw Microsoft’s Trust Center… I thought it odd and immediately the creative juices started flowing. This post was great fun to put together… and as Charles commented above, “You not only learned from doing that but you have taught from writing about it.”

Glad you enjoyed!

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