I’m reading a book right now called The Thin Book of Trust. I’m hoping to gain a better understanding of building and maintaining relationships full of two-way trust in my business, my personal relationships, and in my family. The book highlights four key distinctions that are found in relationships built on trust:

1. Sincerity – the assessment that you are honest, that you say what you mean, and that you mean what you say.

2. Reliability – the asessment that you meet the commitments you make, and that you keep your promises.

3. Competence – the assessment that you have the ability to do what you are doing or propose to do.

4. Care – the assessment that you have the other person’s interests in mind as well as your own when you make decisions and take actions.

Each of these distinctions is important, and I’m going to use this space to keep track of some highlights I find.



  • Walk your talk. 
  • Don’t sugar coat.
  • Congruence – being honest with yourself, checking your intentions, and making sure you are committed and believe what you are saying, to yourself, and to others.
  • If you change your mind, sincerety requires that you let people know you’re committed to doing something different.
  • When we express intentions, we aren’t just describing what we’d like to do – we’re creating expectations, setting ourselves up for future behaviors. If we fail to fulfill these expections, we will be thought of as not sincere from the very beginning.
  • A refusal to confront a problem may be seen as a sign that we really don’t intend to make necessary changes, that we’re just giving lip service to fixing problems.
  • Appearances matter. We can’t “prove” ourselves to be sincere simply by saying so.
  • The conversation in our head and the conversation that comes out of our mouths need to be aligned and consistent.
Ways to build and maintain trust in this area:
  • Be intentional about what you say to people.
  • Be intentional when you set expectations or express hopes.
  • Check with those you work with regularly to align their expectations with your intentions.
  • Check your doubt-o-meter. Others can tell when your mouth doesn’t speak what your mind thinks.
  • Ask others to tell you how they interpret what you say.
This chapter makes me think about Lance Armstrong. For years, he has vehemetely denied allegations of doping. So many of us believed him, not only because we want to take someone at their word, but also because we want to believe someone can become a champion legitimately – not just in a bike race but over sickness, over false allegations, and over the accepted methods in the rest of the world. Now, as the truth comes out, we not only feel anger, but also feel let down. All that he did is now empty, false, and makes any other athlete suspect.


Trust matters to me. I’ve turned my back on it a few times in my life, and it’s cost me. You can’t rebuild those relationships in a day, and even if and when healing comes, life looks different. It’s not “the same as it used to be.” But different can still be good.

In my business life, I recognize to be more intentional with my words. To differentiate and be clear when talking about expectations, scope of work, budgets, estimates, and commitments. Things come up, and when they do, I need to admit and accept that new conversations need to happen to realign the conversation with a client, partner, employee, or vendor.

The next chapter in this book is about reliability – being able to be “counted upon.”