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Like Sport, Trust is crucial in Business

Context of the Organisation / Tuesday 9th of August 2016

Can you trust sporting performances these days?

Do you believe what Sports Administrators and Managers say?

Just read these news items from the BBC and ask yourself, are you sure?

In cycling, Sir Dave Brailsford has defending Sir Bradley Wiggins use of TUEs. Legal under the rules, but in a sport dogged by doping over the years.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/37472728

And now Sam Alladyce (England Football Manager) is under scrutiny for comments he alledgedly made in covert filming.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37479135

Some people you would trust, others less so, but why?

When an Institution is seemingly trusted, but then is caught out by its actions, such as the Russian Authorities prior to the Olympics, you can be forgiven for thinking that everyone competing as Russian is tainted. Harsh maybe, but true.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/olympics/37019086

So; how do you in business protect yourself from getting caught out in the world of trust.

There are two ways,

Firstly, with suppliers.

You trust them and they trust you, and the relationship has been going on for years, in some cases decades and beyond. We know of supplier relations where fathers and grandfathers have done business together. Trust; absolutely.

But one thing stands out in these examples: Communication. Regular and building confidence between the two over time.

But, not all suppliers have been working with you for a long period of time. How do you as the customer build trust with them. You monitor their performance. Did they deliver on time.  Where the goods and services as you specified them, and how good were they at sorting out any problems that occurred. But did they also keep in touch with you, maintaining good communications during good times and bad. Building a better and stronger relationship.

ISO makes a strong (and valid) point about supplier relationships and while setting a programme of “supplier reviews” might tick the boxes, the real benefit in looking inwards at your supplier relations, will be building business together.

Secondly, with customers.

Once again trust is paramount. But it is not so easy to build trust with new or potential clients, who do not have the history of buying from you.

Of course, if you get the business, your customer will monitor your performance, and if things go well on service and price, they will probably work with you again. Trust gets built and the relationship grows over time.

One way to break through the initial stage of building trust is to make sure that your goods and services are benchmarked against known and acknowledged standards. The customer then has something to put trust in, external to you.

The analogy above is clear. You would be more likely to accept the performance of someone who has offered themselves to testing or scrutiny. The competitor is being assessed against a standard.

In business, there are a range of standards, from local industry codes of practice, possibly self- assessed; to Internationally recognised Standards such as ISO, audited independently by Accredited Certification Bodies. The credibility of any inspection, monitoring, calibration or test regime is vital.

But a few words of caution. As some people in sport are finding out, it’s not always their own actions which is compromising trust in them. No doubt some would be saying, make sure that your results, actions and words are credible, trusted and accepted.