The Formula to Build Trust


We all know that the foundation for successful relationships – whether that is personal or business – is trust.

The excellent book by Patrick Lencioni, 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, brilliantly demonstrates how trust is fundamental to creating and maintaining a successful team. He also shows the direct connection between trust and the business results delivered – and there is a clear correlation.

Recently I heard the very talented sales coach, Nevil Tynmouth, speak and he shared a lovely little formula that I wanted to share with you today as it illustrates clearly what is needed when building trust.

His formula is:


Trust =
C + R + I

Let me explain.

C is for credibility, R is for reliability, I is for intimacy and S is for self-orientation.

So, let’s take leadership as an example. Credibility as a leader is demonstrated by how we as leaders truly live the vision and the values of the company.

Reliability is demonstrated by how consistently we follow through on promises we make, and indeed on our overall consistency generally.

Intimacy is shown about how much we really know and understand the people we are building trust with – are we clear about what matters most to them and how we can help them achieve their goals.

To build the trust we must continuously grow all of these three, and diminish the fourth element – self-orientation. It is not about us, it is all about them.

One of the first lessons I learned when I made the transition from being a salesman to a manager was that I needed to become less selfish about how I used my time.

That selfish streak served me well as a salesperson – it gave me laser focus on my own activities to generate sales. But now I needed to produce results through others, and certainly being selfish was not the route to go.

So, my challenge to you is – what are you doing to build credibility, reliability an intimacy with your team? And, are you also minimising the self-orientation?

Without strong trust, you as a leader are going nowhere! 

Ready to be a great leader?

John A Murphy 

Ranked in Top 10 Executive Coaches on LinkedIn


John Murphy has been running his own consultancy business, John Murphy International, for over 10 years.

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