According to Stephen MR Covey, in the Speed of Trust:

Trust is a function of two things: character and competence. Character includes your integrity, your motive, your intent with people. Competence includes your capabilities, your skills, your results, your track record.

My top tip for 2017 (19 Jan) is to commit in your contract to doing your best for your clients; and never make promises you can’t or won’t keep (5 Jan).

What should you do?

In my contract tips [sign up] I have also suggested these tips to improving trust, in order of what resonates with my audiences most:

  1. Check each & every clause builds trust – used by someone splitting a family funeral business who never believed it would allow them to stay friends (25 October)
  2. Tell your contract partner why you need a clause so that your intent is properly understood – used when I am negotiating with corporates to explain why their standard T&C won’t work for me (30 March)
  3. Create mutual obligations where possible, eg confidentiality – used by a company creating a contract based on a spirit of trust and collaboration (22 December)
  4. Avoid ‘jargon monoxide’  – used by a small SME to delete jargon adopted by a larger corporate (8 June)
  5. Build trust into consumer contracts, by complying with the Consumer Rights Act 2015 – used by an architectural practice with home-owners (12 May)
  6. Disclose your T&C early to build trust – used by a marketing consultancy to weed out the time-wasters (8 December)
  7. Don’t focus your contract on the whingeing classes – used by a supplier, who made me laugh and cry in equal measure (27 April)
  8. Check you can meet all the promises in your contract – used to nudge a partner to meet the agreed terms (16 March)

In essence, trust is best served by a simple clear contract (2 March) in which the partners promise high but achievable standards (24 November).

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