Lately I have been asked a seemingly very simple, yet quite complex question: “How do I know who to trust?”
When preparing to write this I drew on a few other information sources in addition to my own experience.
One was the adventurer (and some may say epitome of “toxic masculinity”) Ernest Hemingway who famously said, “the best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”
When posed the question, “what does trust mean to you”, my son William (18) said, “trusting someone makes you vulnerable, but those defences need to be lowered in order to truly connect.” To be honest that was a much ‘deeper’ response than I was expecting.
The IPI investigation inbox has been getting absolutely slammed with infidelity related investigation requests recently – more in a month than we would have received in a year pre-Covid.
We do not do infidelity investigations; they always end in tears, and if nothing is found, the client still believes there is something going on and you are just not good enough to find it.
There is also always something sad about one person being betrayed by another and our witnessing the moment they realise it.
One particularly gutting case from my Debt Free work that we have just completed involved a building developer who contracted a trades company to perform major works when they knew full well that the company was going into liquidation.
The trades company lost around $200k with virtually no chance of recovering the amounts owed. The case has not only seriously affected the business from a financial perspective but also decimated any confidence that they can trust any client without a large amount of due diligence and risk mitigation.
My advice for business owners is to set your systems up like everyone is going to lie to you and try to steal your money, then you can appear to trust everyone while knowing that you really can’t.
It seems that trust is becoming a rare commodity in these post-Covid times (much like an affordable block of cheese or a sub $10 punnet of raspberries); people have even lost trust in what have traditionally been considered bastions of legitimacy and trustworthiness such as governments, healthcare providers and religious institutions.
In particular, it seems we have lost trust in each other which is adding to a general atmosphere of tension and mistrust in the business community as well.
So what do we do?
Well, my advice for business owners is to set your systems up like everyone is going to lie to you and try to steal your money, then you can appear to trust everyone while knowing that you really can’t.
We do it with other parts of life, for instance most of us lock our doors when we leave our homes, yet we don’t expect every passing pedestrian to be an opportunist thief.
Trust is fine to have as long as you insure there are adequate checks and balances to give you a chance should the trust prove to be misplaced.
Just a thought.