The 8 Pillars of Trust

Trust: The Leading Indicator (The 8 Pillars of Trust)

According to our global study and The Trust OutlookTM, the number one question everyone is asking is “Can I trust you?”. A lack of trust is your biggest expense in business and life. Each of the 8 pillars of trust contribute to demonstrating why trust is the leading indicator.

Everything of value is built on trust. You’ll pay more for the trusted brand, follow the trusted leader, and buy from the trusted salesperson. Trust is the single uniqueness of the greatest leaders, organizations and brands of all time. Trust is the root cause. It amplifies marketing, speed of the sale, and is the only way to leverage the benefits of diversity.

Leading vs. Lagging Indicators

Leading indicators are typically input oriented, hard to measure but easy to influence. Lagging indicators are typically output oriented, easy to measure but hard to improve or influence. In many cases, the leading indicator is the cause of the lagging indicator.

An example of a leading indicator would be leadership competency. If the leading indicator is leadership competency- measured at the process level, the lagging indicator would be employee satisfaction, measured at the organization level.

Trust is the most important leading indicator as it is vital for driving toward any goal. Whether you are trying to increase your customer satisfaction rate or decrease attrition, trust affects the bottom line. From massive fraud in business to scandals in politics and athletics, the headlines point to a persistent problem of modern life and business—we’re lacking in trust.

So how do you build trust? Many professionals think it is as simple as increasing integrity or honesty. However, the solution much deeper and more complex than this. In order to build trust, you need to look at a much broader spectrum of ideas. The 8-Pillars of trust can assist in building the foundation for success.

The 8 Pillars of Trust- Defined

  • ClarityPeople trust the clear and mistrust or distrust the ambiguous. Be clear about your mission, purpose, expectations, and daily activities. When we are clear about priorities on a daily basis, we become productive and effective.
  • CompassionPeople put faith in those who care beyond themselves.  People are often skeptical about whether someone really has their best interests in mind. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is not just an old saying. It is a bottom-line truth. Follow it, and you will build trust.
  • CharacterPeople notice those who do what is right ahead of what is easy. Leaders who have built this pillar consistently do what needs to be done when it needs to be done, whether they feel like doing it or not. It is the work of life to do what is right rather than what is easy.
  • CompetencyPeople have confidence in those who stay fresh, relevant, and capable. The humble and teachable person keeps learning new ways of doing things and stays current on ideas and trends. Make a habit of reading, learning, and listening to fresh information.
  • CommitmentPeople believe in those who stand through adversity. People trusted General Patton, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mohandas Gandhi, Jesus, and George Washington because they saw commitment and sacrifice for the greater good. Commitment builds trust.
  • ConnectionPeople want to follow, buy from, and be around those who are willing to connect and collaborate. Trust is all about relationships, and relationships are best built by establishing genuine connection. Develop the trait of gratitude, and you will be a magnet.
  • ContributionFew things build trust quicker than actual results. At the end of the day, people need to see outcomes. You can have compassion and character, but without the results you promised, people won’t trust you. Be a contributor who delivers real results.
  • ConsistencyIt’s the little things—done consistently—that make the biggest difference. If I am overweight, it is because I have eaten too many calories over time, not because I ate too much yesterday. It is the same in business. The little things done consistently make for a higher level of trust and better results.

According to the Trust OutlookTM, the number one reason people want to work for an organization was trust. Ahead of being paid more, ahead of more autonomy, ahead of a more fun work environment, they want to trust their leadership. When the 8-pillars are used together, they make up the great advantage called The Trust Edge.

Trust is the most important leading indicator. When trust increases or decreases, the lagging indicator follows. If a leader is untrusted, both employee and customer satisfaction decrease. If a brand is trusted, revenue will increase, and employee retention will become greater. It affects all aspects of business. In both situations, trust is the first thing that changes.

What Are The 8 Pillars Of Trust? | David Horsager | The Trust Edge

Everything of value is built on trust, and a lack of trust is your biggest expense. So if trust is so important, how do you build it? In the original research, and backed up every year in our annual global research study The Trust Outlook™, 8 traits came out of what makes up a trusted individual and those who have what we call the Trust Edge.

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The Power of 90 Days

First of all was before the research, I remember a mentor of mine 20 years ago said David, I want you to try something for 90 days. I want you to try not complaining one time about anything for 90 days. I wanted to complain about the idea. I took the challenge. Didn’t just change my life, it changed the trajectory of my life. In 90 days I didn’t just lose 33 pounds, I changed the way I look at food in life. 90 days is absolutely powerful because it’s short enough to stay absolutely focused and long enough to get more done than most people get done in a year. 90 days.

How to Increase Your Net Promoter Score

How do I increase my NPS, my Net Promoter Score? The Net Promoter Score is just a question of would you refer this product or service to others? There is only one way to increase your NPS, and that is by increasing trust.

You see, it’s not a referral issue, it’s not an engagement issue. You don’t get more referrals with referrals, just like you don’t get more engagement with engagement. You get more engagement with trust, you get more referrals by being more trusted.

In fact, in our last year’s annual study, the 2019 Trust Outlook, we found nine out of 10 Americans said they would not refer the product or service of an organization they don’t trust. Increase trust, increase your referrals, increase your Net Promoter Score.

Click Here to view David’s National Best Seller The Trust Edge

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The Value of a Trusted Mentor While Surfing in Kauai | Trust in Leadership

I have dreamed of surfing since I was a teenager. One problem – I grew up in Minnesota. My state is the furthest from any ocean in North America, so waves were not easily accessible. Having been recently invited to speak on the island of Kauai, where surfing originated, this bucket-list opportunity was primed. On top of that, my wife Lisa’s childhood friend, a school teacher and surfing instructor, now lives in Kauai.

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6 Ways to Improve Competency


When we quit learning, in some ways, we start dying. No matter what degree we’ve earned, or what initials come after our name, we must find ways to improve competency on a daily basis.

The first step to increasing your personal and professional competence is to understand you have not arrived. If you believe you have no room to grow, you won’t grow. Once you see there are areas for improvement in your life, growing your competence in those areas is really quite simple.

Here are a few quick and easy ideas for improving your competence.

1.  Consider every circumstance an opportunity

Napolean Hill, foremost success authority, said, “Every adversity brings with it the seed of an equivalent advantage.” If you’re willing to see every conflict, every delay, and every frustration in this light — your whole life becomes a learning opportunity.

2.  Join a mastermind group

The power of a group is hard to argue. For years we’ve seen powerful leaders and thinkers emerge, not as individuals, but as groups. Surround yourself with people who are more successful, more competent, and more qualified than you — you’re guaranteed to grow your competence.

3.  Find a mentor

Nearly every leader can point to a mentor who has played a key role in their success. If you don’t have a mentor, and you would like one, generally it’s just as easy as asking the question.

4.  Use time wisely

So much time in our day is wasted doing mindless things:  TV or YouTube videos, sitting in traffic, waiting for a meeting to start. Set yourself up to take advantage of those moments by listening to podcasts in the car, loading books onto your computer or phone for those down moments, and not allowing yourself to mindlessly watch garbage on TV.

5.  Take advantage of technology

I heard of someone recently who listens to books on tape at two-times speed so he can finish them faster. Technology is constantly improving. Take advantage of the opportunities it provides to learn.

6.  Read

Mark Twain famously says, “The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.” Become a consumer of good books. Read books that challenge you.

Click Here to view David’s National Best Seller The Trust Edge

What other ways have you found to improve competency in your field?

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professional development resources, personal growth and development, trusted development, strategic planning, competency, fresh and competent, 

Trust is a Business Asset | Trust in Business

The impact of trust on the economy can be witnessed at the corporate level. Bear Stearns, AIG, and Lehman Brothers were at one time considered trust-based businesses. Each of these companies relied on the trust of the market to establish the firm’s value. As trust goes down, value goes down. For instance, the $236 million purchase proposal for Bear Stearns by JP Morgan Chase came just hours after Bear Stearns’ market capitalization was $3 billion. Interestingly, just over a year ago that market cap was $20 billion. As trust in the market tanks, so does the value of the business.

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Being Clear With Expectations | Trust in Business

Few things are as frustrating as working for a manager who gives you an annual review and tells you all the things she thinks you should have been doing during the past year. How is this information helpful now? The year is over. Why weren’t these expectations expressed earlier? If you are a parent, you know how important it is to communicate expectations with your child. So often, a clear communication of expectations will prevent both misbehavior and failure. 

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The Importance of Corporate Vision | Trust in Leadership

I met an 88-year-old man named Orville at my health club, first noticing him one afternoon while checking in. I saw Orville sort of stumbling along behind me. I couldn’t believe my eyes. There was no way this man, slowly shuffling along the path to the gym, was going to work out! Orville patiently moved, inch by inch, into the weight-training area, picked up some dumbbells, and with an audible grunt, started his routine. 

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Conclusion | Trust Trends 2014 Series

The world is in a trust crisis, and developing the eight-pillar framework of trust is the way out. Top leaders ought to use Trust Trends 2014 as a timely application for developing themselves, their teams, their organizations, and society. The following is a summary of the eight trends, their key embedded opportunities, and the pillar of trust each most corresponds with.

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Systems Collaboration and Interdependence | Trust Trends 2014 Series

In the US, and around the globe, systems are becoming more interdependent, and leaders are teaming up to accomplish shared goals.

In the US, and around the globe, systems are becoming more interdependent, and leaders are teaming up to accomplish shared goals. This is happening at a time when global citizens trust systems, but distrust the leaders that operate them. Trust in business, government, media, and NGO’s are up slightly from 2012, but 2013 has been deemed the year of the Crisis of Leadership, by the Edelman Trust Barometer.[i]

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