“Trust is the foundation for everything we do,” says Frances Frei, Harvard Business School professor, in a recent TED Talk. “If we can learn to trust one another, we can have unprecedented human progress.” Trust is defined as “the firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone.”
Frei explains that trustworthy relationships are built on three pillars: authenticity, competence and empathy; we have to believe the trustworthy person is being truthful with us, has the ability to do what we expect of them, and has our best interests at heart. These characteristics take time to build between people, and if any of these traits falter, trust is compromised.
Empathy is the most challenging of the three, she says, because “people just don’t believe that we’re mostly in it for them.” And, that uncertainty is justified; we are busy with various demands of our time, so it’s easy to forget to put forth the effort that empathy requires. Further, most of us have had past experiences causing us to mistrust today.
Because of this natural apprehension, EMJ knows we have to set the bar higher with our transparency and delivery to clients.
We recognize the value of being trustworthy and hold it as one of our three core values, defining it as “being truthful with ourselves and accountable and work to be good stewards for our clients.”
We know that trustworthiness can be the factor that leads customers to work with the same construction organization over and over. We also know that focusing on our client’s goals and serving on their behalf is the only way to ensure mutual success and longevity of the relationship.
“There is a historical mistrust in our industry that we are working very hard to eliminate,” said Burt Odom, CEO and President of EMJ Corporation. “When our teams put others first and are transparent, everyone wins. We may not be awarded every job because we don’t make promises we can’t keep. But when we commit to a partnership, our clients receive a facility that achieves their goals, and we build a trusting relationship that we expect to last.”
EMJ’s purpose is to be people serving people, and it starts with showing clients, partners and colleagues that we can be trusted to provide what we say we’ll do when we say we’ll do it. Like Frei said, “If we want others to trust us, the first step is to be trustworthy.”
Watch Frances Frei’s full TED Talk here.