Barry came into my office and sat down in the chair. Barry was the last holdout. I needed Barry. He was the loyal leader of the opposition. He was a supervisor and his team produced. I knew, absolutely knew that we could break records and in this economy if I could get Barry to understand that I was trustworthy.

It had been four months since I had taken over the department and everyone else had come around. It had taken a while to walk the walk to trust. I had surprised the staff by making fewer promises. Shocked them keeping all of them. And then I had repeatedly driven home the point starting my meetings on time and sticking to the agenda and stopping a minute early.

I had asked Barry to come back to my office after the previous week’s meeting. Barry had sat down, openly friendly enough. I had seen him with other people on his staff, those that he did trust, and that Barry was the one I wanted on my team. The one who trusted and checked and kept his word.

“Barry, I have asked you in to tell you what a great job you did on the Jones account. We could have very easily lost that business, a piece of business that is vital to us, if you hadn’t established such a strong bond with the client. Thanks!”

“Just doing my job, John”

“And you do your job very well. And that brings my to my other reason for asking you in Barry. Remember last week what it was going to take for you to trust me and you said, “Time.”

“I remember John.” Barry was a man of few words.

“How much time Barry?”

One of the things that I like about Barry was his habit of pondering a question. And repeating questions to make sure he understood the words and intent of the speaker.

“You are asking me how much time it will take for me to trust you?”

“Right,” I said.

“Man, that is a tough question to answer. You and I have talked over my history here and at the last place. You know I was passed over for your job, promised it in fact. And at the last place, and the one before, I was lied to and thrown under the buss. I am a little cynical.”

‘Barry here is what I would like you to do. I know your memory is good and I would still like you to take notes here.”

Barry was taking notes all along. A handy habit developed through years of being burned.

“Go John.”

Question # 1: What actions is John taking that show him to be untrustworthy?

Question # 2: What actions would John need to take next time that he is not taking to prove that he is trustworthy?

“Barry, I don’t expect you to answer those questions now. Can you make another meeting at 8:30 next Friday to give me answer? And if you can’t give me an answer to question #1 or question #2, actions I can to take to prove my trustworthiness, I would like you to man up and trust me. Trust and check. Trust and verify. I am not your former boss or the one before that or the one before that. I am me. I trust you and verify. I want you to do the same.”

Barry sat there for a few seconds with a puzzled expression on his face. Then he smiled and said, “It’s a deal John.”

That was Friday morning. The next Monday morning after I had said hello to the few members of the team that beat me in to the office, Barry walked into my office and said, “John, can a take a few minutes?” I always kept the first half hour Monday open for scheduled emergencies.

“Sure, Barry,” I said. Barry looked more relaxed than I could every remember him being around me.

“I thought long and hard about what you said Friday and I got home. Talked it over with my partner. I thought they were great questions. As far as number #1 the answer is nothing. As far as number #2, the answer is nothing except for one thing.”

“What’s that Barry?”

“I’d like you to buy me, Becky, Susan, Ted, Ted Junior, Achmed, Hong, and Natasha one beer each Friday night at Rick’s Place. Oh and you are right. I am going to man up and trust you. The beer is just for fun.”

With that he stood up shook my hand and walked out of the office relaxed and smiling. Not nearly smiling as much as I was.

Action Items. If you have people who have no reason not to trust you and they tell you it is going to take time, tell them.

I beg to differ. Time, absent proof for or against, will prove nothing.

Show me how I can prove to you that I am trustworthy by either:

1.Telling me what actions I am not taking that I need to take to show that I am trustworthy.


2. Telling me what actions I need to stop taking that take away from me proving my trustworthiness.


3. If you can't-Man up, Woman up. And trust me.

Author's Bio: 

Long before he became an energetic and powerful speaker and trainer, John Cameron was a proud member of the 1st of the 509th Airborne Battalion Combat team.

Following his military service, he earned a business degree before spending several years working as a stockbroker in Carmel and Sacramento California. Following this, he spent several years in the advertising field, leading his sales team to 37 uninterrupted quarters of growth.

When he became a speaker and trainer, John already possessed a wealth of life and workplace experiences to draw upon for his presentations. The result is seminars fraught with strategies and techniques that have been tested and proven to work in the real world.

A dynamic and entertaining speaker, John Cameron leaves his laughing audiences eager to put his ideas to the test and re-engaged to face all challenges awaiting back on the job.

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