“Many proclaim themselves loyal, but who can find one worthy of trust?” - Proverbs 20:6
In his famously popular business book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni places lack of trust, or loss of trust, as the root cause for a team’s dysfunction. That being true, then conversely one must surmise that teams and relationships that are highly functional, healthy and effective are at their core built on a foundation of trust. Stephen M.R. Covey further dissects the issue of trust in his book, The Speed of Trust. According to Covey, trust has two basic components — one being competence and the other character. To truly gain someone’s trust requires both, that is being competent at what we do, and of good character in our dealings.
I’m reminded of the frustrations I experienced with a doctor’s office where I was once a patient. The issue was not with the physician himself; rather with the office’s poor procedures. Finally, in a face-to-face encounter I literally fired the doctor, just like one might do with an employee in a business. And even though I had become increasingly upset with the poor service from his office (though not his medical competence), our conversation was not the least bit contentious. In fact, it turned out to be healthy for both of us. I got my frustrations off my chest, and his eyes were opened to a problem within his practice of which he had previously been unaware, a blind spot. He could not have been nicer or more accommodating, even going out of his way to ensure all information was properly transferred to my new physician. Unfortunately, that all came about too late to restore my confidence (trust) in him enough to remain his patient.
My former doctor was hardly incompetent; to the contrary he is quite well regarded within his highly complex specialty field. Nor was I ever treated poorly by him personally. But he did exhibit a “character” flaw in the unsatisfactory manner by which his practice was managed, which ultimately reflected on him, and eventually caused me to lose confidence in him.
Healthy and effective relationships must be built on a foundation of trust, otherwise as happened with my doctor, they will not last. The Proverb warns us of this very issue, “Many proclaim themselves loyal,” it says, “but who can find one worthy of trust?”