4 / SEEDWORLD.COM JUNE 2018 WHAT’S THE MOST important thing needed to bring comfort to your employees? Stability, salary, a safe workspace? Wouldn’t it be easier to just say “trust?” It means different things to different people. One thing’s for certain: without trust, it’s hard to create and sustain a suc- cessful business environment. “One breach of trust, and what hap- pens?” asked David Horsager, a best- selling author and CEO of the Trust Edge Leadership Institute. “You never ask again. A lack of trust is the biggest expense you can have. Everything of value is built on trust.” Horsager presented at the Independent Professional Seed Association (IPSA) annual conference earlier this year. “Trust is a confident belief in a person, product or organization,” said Horsager. “When I can confidentially believe in you, everything changes.” But how as a seed company, do you build that trust? Employees in all sectors want to trust their leadership. Horsager, who invented the Enterprise Trust Index and conducts a yearly Trust Outlook, said research shows employees would be willing to work longer hours, be more loyal or even take a pay cut if they could just trust their leadership. “Trust is not stated, trust is earned,” Horsager said. He narrowed trust down to eight pillars, as defined below. Clarity. The first pillar is clarity. Horsager wrote in his book “The Trust Edge: How Top Leaders Gain Faster Results, Deeper Relationships, and a Stronger Bottom Line” that people trust the clear and mistrust the ambiguous. “Around the world, people think they’re clear when they aren’t,” he said. A clear mission can unify the entire operation. Compassion. “People trust those who have intent beyond themselves,” Horsager said. “That’s why ... the most trusted person globally is actually Mom.” Horsager’s book fleshed out this con- cept, “Never underestimate the power of sincerely caring,” he wrote. “It is the reason we trust our mothers over some salespeo- ple. We are skeptical if the salesperson really has our best interest in mind.” Character. “The leaders who have this pillar tend to do what’s right over what’s easy,” he said. Character is a mixture of integrity (being the same from beliefs to words to actions) and moral character (taking the high road in every interaction). Competency. “You can have charac- ter, but if you don’t have the competency In an era where people primarily communicate by email and text, trust can be harder to come by. Alex Martin amartin@issuesink.com How to Achieve TRUST for it, I don’t trust you.” To be competent in something, Horsager said you must stay fresh and relevant. Farmers aren’t looking to businesses with products that haven’t been updated in 20 years. They don’t trust outdated products. Commitment. “People trust those who stay committed in the face of adversity,” Horsager said. Think about some of the most trusted leaders: Martin Luther King Jr., George Washington and Ghandi. Followers trusted them because they could see their commitment to the greater good. Connection. It’s all about collabora- tion. When companies collaborate, news ideas are combined, rather than compet- ing against each other. “We’ve got to be better at connecting and collaborating if we want to be around in the new economy,” Horsager said. Contribution. “The first word to actu- ally come out of this research funnel was ‘results,’” said Horsager. “If you don’t pro- duce results, then I can’t trust you.” Consistency. Consistency in a busi- ness is how trust is built and how character is revealed. To illustrate this, Horsager pointed to McDonald’s. Even if McDonald’s isn’t the best restaurant, you can drive to any McDonald’s across the country and eat the same hamburger. “We trust the sameness,” he said. Without knowing it, the No. 1 ques- tion that everyone asks every day is “Can I trust you?” said Horsager. By using all eight pillars, business leaders can gain a leg up on the competition because employees will work harder and better due to their faith in the business. SW David Horsager, CEO of Trust Edge Leadership Institute.