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Reason 1 | Reason 2 | Reason 3 | Reason 4 | Reason 5

Problem: Only Low-Trust Exists in the Network.

Stephen M.R. Covey wrote a book entitled The Speed of Trust. Covey explains that the activities that produce trust can be broken down into two categories: things that demonstrate competence and things that demonstrate integrity.

The fastest way to lose trust is to demonstrate a lack of integrity. If people in your networking group seem to be posturing, if they fail to show a genuine interest in others (including you), and if they fail to show loyalty to others in the group, you develop the impression that this is not a person whom you can trust. And you will logically ask yourself, "Why would I go out of my way to support this person? They aren't likely to support me!"

Trust also depends upon convincing others of your competence. Face it, having a quirky USP doesn't usually communicate accountability, clarity, awareness, courage, intelligence or many of the other factors that demonstrate competence. When people don't follow up and keep commitments, that is a pretty good sign that they will underperform at any other task you give them.

Perhaps the reason that most people don't really share business within their existing networks is because they don't believe that the people in their network are really any better than the other people they are using for those services.

Solution: Extend Trust.

You really have two options. Either you can use the people in your network for the services that they provide, or you can join a different network with members that you can trust. If you want to be respected and trusted, eventually you have to extend trust to others. In networking, that means that you have to be someone that buys from and refers to the other people in your network.

If you believe that someone in your network is competent and has integrity, then give them a shot with your business. Don't wait for them to place an order with you first. Be the person in your group that gets the ball rolling.

Your trust can be conditional at first. If they don't do a good job, then stop ordering their services. But if it turns out that they do a good job, then you have just taken the most important action for creating more value in your network.

In my network, I communicate about the values of integrity and competence. I want people to know that I have those values and that I expect them from the people in my network. I want to make sure that trust exists, and that our commitment to our values extends to the commitment we have for other people in the network.

If you don't have trust in people around you, then use the I Know Network as a model. Define your values, communicate them to others, and when you find people who share your values, extend trust by giving them a shot at your business. You should be able to expect that when you support their business, they will reciprocate and support you in some way.

If you share my values, you are always welcome in the I Know Network. If what I am giving to you for free is helping you make more money or find more happiness, then I am doing my job of giving you a reason to trust me.

Read the rest of this series: Reason 1 | Reason 2 | Reason 3 | Reason 4 | Reason 5