“Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’, and your ‘No’, ‘No’.” – Matthew 5:37
For almost thirty years Jerry and I were the closest of friends. We talked daily during the business week sharing information and ideas, and almost always having a few laughs. Although we were in the same business we never worked together, in fact we were competitors – at least the companies we worked for were competitors, and bitter ones at that. Yet, we were constantly engaged as partners in joint endeavors. It was a great relationship; we were both like-minded and trusted each other without question, to the extent that in the absence of one of us the other had total authority to make decisions regarding the partnership. In other words – now think about this!! – he had authority to make decisions on my behalf about my firm’s capital, and I had authority from him to do the same. In all those thirty years not once did we have an argument, disagreement, or misunderstanding. It was a relationship not bound by legal documents but rather by trust between two honest gentlemen. We simply let our “Yes” be “Yes”, and our “No”, “No”; and it worked without a glitch – for thirty years.
Establishing trust is not complicated. It is simply requires telling the truth and doing what we say we’re going to do. Why then do we trust so little? Why, when we listen to all the political promises being made during this election season, are we so skeptical? Why must every contract, agreement, or major transaction require reams of legal documents? Why are relationships like Jerry and I had all those years so rare, the exception rather than the rule? Why is trust between one human being and another so often violated? I wonder, for trust is one of the most powerful assets one can ever attain in business and in life.
“Establishing trust” is listed as one of the top core competencies for executive coaching by the International Coach Federation (ICF). Understandably so, because only by trusting can one person communicate openly and freely with another, which is essential for a coaching relationship to be effective. I’m grateful for my old friend Jerry who exposed me to the meaning and power of trust. For us it became second nature, “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’, and your ‘No’, ‘No’.”