Weekly Impact is written for leaders by our Executive Director, Garth Jestley, who has decades of experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. Each week he will share insights on life, leadership and faith.
Like most marketplace leaders, I have been let down by others whom I have trusted. Instances have ranged from misleading representations (aka lying) to taking advantage of my friendship. Unfortunately and perhaps not surprisingly, my biggest personal financial losses have resulted from dealings with individuals with whom the pre-breach level of trust was very high. In fact, the high level of trust engendered a greater willingness to accept risk.
Thus the topic of trust looms large in my thinking. It has also become a popular book theme (for example “The Speed of Trust” by Stephen Covey) and a big topic at business schools. In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to suggest that trust is THE universal currency. From foreign exchange trading to the clearing of securities transactions to every imaginable commercial and personal transaction, literally nothing happens without trust.
When I led a venture capital firm many years ago, we would screen more than two hundred proposals each year en route to making fewer than five investments.Within five minutes of meeting the CEO and team, we usually knew whether we would be pursuing the opportunity further. In most cases, we did not.
Why not? A major cause was lack of trust, an intuitive sense that management might not treat our money with proper respect. An assessment of this sort does not lend itself to computer analysis. It is primarily the result of years of experience dealing with people – and being lied to on occasion! I wish there were a simple formula for trust. I have not discovered one. Please let me know if you have.
One cannot escape the necessity of taking risk to earn a reward, and taking risk includes trusting others.
As Christians, we should not be surprised when we experience a breach of trust, even in our dealings with other Christians. After all, our biblical worldview is that all of humankind (including ourselves) is fundamentally flawed. We are all broken and in need of forgiveness. One day of media exposure will verify that conclusion. Christ followers are not perfect but have trusted in Christ to forgive them and lead them.
The reality is that we cannot escape the necessity of taking risk to earn a reward and taking risk includes trusting others. That said, we should always do careful (read skeptical) due diligence whenever assessing opportunities, including not only the investment of money but also time or influence. In addition, we must pray for God’s wisdom and the ability to properly discern what is in the other person’s heart. At the end of the day, there is only one who is completely trustworthy according to the Bible. His name is Jesus Christ!
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Garth Jestley is a husband, father, grandfather, leader and business executive. Most importantly, he is a follower of Jesus Christ.