The Trust Edge

My good friend, David Horsager, is the foremost researcher and expert on trust in America.  He wrote a book, The Trust Edge, in 2010, to help educate business leaders on the importance and value of trust in business.  The book was so well-received, Simon & Schuster, one of the top five publishers in the country, is re-releasing it on October 9th, as their lead business book of 2012. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

I invited David to guest-author an article here to briefly explain why trust is important, and why you might want to read his book.  Here is a slightly modified version of what he sent me.

The Real Crisis and 8 Ways to
Beat It

You’ve heard we are in the midst of a financial crisis.  That much is obvious.  But, did you know our financial woes pale in comparison to the crisis of trust we have on our hands?  That’s right.  Our most significant crisis revolves around a lack of trust.  When even leaders of the World Economic Forum agree that our biggest crisis is a lack of trust and confidence, you know it must be serious. Sadly, few people really understand the
bottom line implications. Not only does it affect credit and government
relations, it affects every relationship and every organization.
Professor John Whitney of the Columbia Business School found, “Mistrust doubles
the cost of doing business.” I think it costs even more. Trust is not just a
“soft skill,” it is the fundamental key to all lasting success.

trust, leaders lose teams and sales people lose sales. We all lose
productivity, retention of good people, reputation, morale and revenue. The
lower the trust the more time everything takes, the more everything costs, and
the lower the loyalty of everyone involved. However, with greater trust come
greater innovation, creativity, impact, freedom, morale, and a bigger bottom

of my Graduate research points to the fact that
trust is
the unique commonality of the most successful leaders and organizations.
Obtaining this level of trust isn’t easy. If you are looking for a quick fix,
don’t look to trust. While it may appear to be static, in reality it is more
like a forest—a long time growing, but easily burned down with a touch of
carelessness. Trust is by nature solid and proven. Without trust no lasting, genuine success exists–just a brittle, fluffy, mirage of the real thing. The
good news is that we can build this fundamental key to success. It is worth it!
And it is the ONLY way to genuine relational or organizational success. The
Trust Edge is the competitive advantage gained by being trusted whether as a
mom or dad, a community leader or a consultant, or a business owner or
government leader. Following is a synopsis of the eight pillars that build the
Trust Edge.

1. Consistency: It’s the little things, done consistently,
that make the big difference. In every area of life it is the little things. If
I am over weight it is because I have eaten too many calories over time, not
because I ate too much yesterday. If I am a good husband I am doing the little
things that honor my wife on a daily basis. It is the same in business. The
little things done consistently make for leaders being followed, increased
sales and retention, and a higher level of trust. Consistency is
way brands are built and character is revealed. Even if we don’t like
McDonald’s, we trust them because they deliver the same burger in Cleveland as
in Tokyo. Do the little things, consistently.

2. Clarity: People trust the clear and mistrust or distrust the
ambiguous. Be clear about your mission, purpose, expectations, and daily
activities. When people are clear about the mission they do the little things
differently. A clear mission unifies and inspires. When a manager is clear in
expectations, she will likely get what she wants. When we are clear about
priorities on a daily basis we become productive and effective.

3. Compassion: Think beyond yourself. Never underestimate the power
of sincerely caring. It is the reason we trust our mothers over some sales
people. We are skeptical if the sales person really has our best interest in
mind. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is not just an old
saying, it is a bottom line truth. If followed it builds trust.

4. Character:
Do what is right over
what is easy. Leaders who built this trust consistently did what needed
to be done when it needed to be done whether they felt like doing it or not. It
is the work of life to do what is right over what is easy.

5. Contribution: Few things build trust quicker than actual
results. Be a contributor who delivers real results!

6. Competency: Staying fresh, relevant and capable builds trust. The
humble teachable person keeps learning new and better ways of doing things.
They stay current on ideas and trends. According to one study the key
competency of new MBA’s is not a specific skill, but rather the ability to
learn amidst chaos. Arrogance and a “been-there-done-that” attitude keep people
from growing. There is always more to learn, so make a habit of reading,
learning, and listening to fresh information.

7. Connection: People want to follow, buy from, and be around friends.
People become friends when they build connection. Ask questions. Listen. Life,
and trust are about relationships. All
relationships are best built by establishing 

8. Commitment: Stick with it through adversity.  Followers trusted General Patton, Martin
Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Jesus, and George Washington, because they saw
commitment. They saw sacrifice for the greater good. Commitment reveals and it
builds trust.

does not start with the economy or government.
The good news is that YOU can build these pillars and enjoy greater
relationships, revenue and results.
starts with individuals becoming trusted. When will we get out of this trust
crisis? When we as individuals decide to build the
Trust Edge on a daily basis. Keep on being trusted.

David Horsager, MA, CSP, is an award-winning speaker,
author, producer, and business strategist who has researched and spoken on the
bottom-line impact of trust across four continents. His brand new book titled, The Trust Edge: What Top Leaders Have &
8 Pillars to Build It
gives the framework for building trust at work or at
home. Get free resources and more at and

A key result that flows from developing your skill on par with your talent is the trust that comes from living a life of integrity.  We here at the Rudy Syndrome encourage you to read or listen to The Trust Edge, and to live its principles every day.

6 thoughts on “The Trust Edge”

  1. Thanks for the book recommendation. I was skeptcal, but I read it because I like this blog. What a terrific book! Mr Horsager really is a sage expert on trust. I didn’t even know there was such a thing. Way to go Dave Horsager and thanks, again, Rudy Syndrome editors!

  2. Thanks, Kelly.  We agree.  This is a book everyone should read, not just business professionals or people in leadership positions.  It is a really good reminder that trust is at the core of all we do and achieve.

    Thanks for the post,
  3. Although the Web has changed the way people purchased goods and services, especially in the complex B2B sale, people still want to buy from people who they like. Who they have a relationship with. Who provide value in every interaction. Who they trust. Dave Horsager’s book shares why trust is so important in a world where mis-information abounds. Most important, Dave shares ideas you can implement to ensure you build trust with your key stakeholders e.g., clients, employees, shareholders, and community. The Trust Edge is a great read and, in my opinion, should be a required read for today’s business leaders.

  4. FULLY agree with your book recommendation. Every company in America should make this mandatory reading. Dave’s work supports the research done by Booz&Co. that showed the post recession customer wants to do business with people (companies) they TRUST. Plus..never to early to learn this key philosophy and approach to life and business…EVERY young adult and student needs to read it.

  5. We agree, Dave.  Wish we had thought to make the “mandatory reading” suggestion!

    Thanks for being a person who values trust,
  6. Great point about the Internet changing the way we interact, and making trustworthines an even more important business trait.  You’re definitely the expert when it comes to knowing what people are doing online, so we should all take your comments to heart.  Appreciate your thouhgtful insight on Dave’s book!

    Thanks for the post,

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