Feb. 9, 2023

678: How to Build Trust (Works EVERY SINGLE Time)

Discover the key to success in leadership with trust expert Darryl Stickel on the importance of trust in organizations and society

Get ready to take your leadership skills to the next level! In this episode of The Brian Nichols Show, Brian sits down with trust expert and author of "Building Trust: Exceptional Leadership in an Uncertain World" , Darryl Stickel, to uncover the secrets of building trust in any situation. With 20 years of experience studying trust building, Darryl shares his insights on how trust can lead to better returns for shareholders, increased employee engagement, and a more harmonious society.

But it's not just about the theory, this episode offers real solutions for the challenges we face in today's world. With the Covid-19 pandemic causing widespread distrust, Brian and Darryl offer their expert advice on how to rebuild trust and foster relationships in these uncertain times.

You won't want to miss this engaging conversation as Brian and Darryl delve into the ten levers of trust building and the critical role of empathy and communication in bridging the gap between two sides. This is your chance to learn from the best and become a trust-building master! Don't miss out on the latest episode of The Brian Nichols Show.


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Brian Nichols  0:07  
Building Trust exceptional leadership in an uncertain world. Yeah, let's talk about that. Instead of focusing on winning arguments, we're teaching the basic fundamentals of sales and marketing and how we can use them to win in the world of politics, teaching you how to meet people where they're at on the issues they care about. Welcome to The Brian Nichols Show. Well, happy Thursday there, folks, Brian Nichols here on The Brian Nichols Show. And thank you for joining us on of course, for the episode I am as always your humble host. Joining you live Mr. Stratus ip Studios here in lovely Houston, Indiana, don't let cyber attacks on outdated Business Technology, put your company at risk. Learn more at the Brian Nichols show.com forward slash Stratus ip, losing someone's trust is as easy and guess what building it back is much, much harder and to answer the very tough questions that a lot of leaders leaders face like what is trust? And why is it essential in leadership? And how can I become more trusted? Joining us today author of building trust exceptional leadership in an uncertain world, Darryl stickle. Thanks for joining The Brian Nichols Show.

Darryl Stickel  1:16  
Thanks for having me, Brian. It's a pleasure to be here.

Brian Nichols  1:18  
Absolutely. Pleasure to have you on. And thank you for joining us to talk all things trust. But first before we will go ahead and dig into that topic. Do us a favor, introduce yourself to the audience and maybe outline a little bit of why trust is such an important topic to you.

Darryl Stickel  1:34  
So trust is one of the fundamental building blocks of all of our relationships. It's the social lubricant that allows societies to function. And when I got approached by the Canadian military to help them try to figure out how to build trust with the locals in Afghanistan. It was because there had been no economic development at all. And they came to realize that trust levels were so low that that society was almost on the verge of, of completely collapsing. And we've seen what's happened since. So trust leads to higher returns to shareholders, higher employee engagement, it's there's all these factors that tell us the trust is good for organizations. It's critical and trying to develop political leadership because it requires people to actually follow to be engaged in the process to obey the rules and regulations and structures that we have within societies. So for me, I wrote my doctoral thesis on building trust in hostile environments. In 1999, and I've spent the last 20 years helping people better understand what trust is, how it works, and most importantly, how to build

Brian Nichols  2:40  
it. Well, let's outline a little bit right there in the world of trust where we are today, I like to put things into context, especially to make it real for folks. So here we are, we're recording for posterity steak, February 2023. And we all just went through this little thing called the COVID 19 pandemic. And I think that has really exemplified the the fracturing of trust across the board. Now, this is not a debate today, necessarily of you know, which side was right, which side was wrong, trust the experts, you know, trust the science, none of that today, but rather, how can we fix the broken trust that has happened over the past nearly three years? Restore, I know, right now, the main areas, I see a lack of trust, predominantly in the greater Liberty based community is going to be in your public health institutions in your government officials in your your local bureaucracies or your national bureaucracies in the health space. So there's obviously gonna be a lot of distrust there, what would you recommend as the the main building blocks to reestablishing some forms of trust?

Darryl Stickel  3:46  
So we're going to start with something easy. You know, trust is a combination of uncertainty and vulnerability. So and the definition for trust is, it's the willingness to make ourselves vulnerable, when we can't completely predict how someone else is going to behave. And you're right, trust levels are at the lowest we've ever seen, in politicians, in institutions in agencies like public health. And part of the challenge here is that we have a fairly set level of vulnerability, but uncertainty has been spiking all over the place. And, you know, we had uncertainty in terms of we didn't understand the virus very well, when it first came. Rules were implemented differently in different locations, different across different institutions. We got conflicting messages. There was an incredible amount of uncertainty that was filtering through the through the community through the world. And partly what we need to do is be more intentional. You know, we can think about what the intent was for some of these different places. You know, the A public health community, the World Health Organization, local governments. But part of the challenge there is that they weren't very clear about articulating how they were serving the best interests of the communities they serve. didn't involve those communities in that conversation around what best interests look like. And so so we see this profound gap. And we're seeing systems in place now that are sometimes encouraging people to move into those leadership positions that we may not actually want to be there. Yeah, so I think a lot of this stems back to, we need to be intentional, we need to communicate effectively. And partly for me, you know, where I find real success, when groups are divided, like they seem to be now is actually having a conversation with the two groups saying, Okay, so, group one, what's your story? What do you think happened? Group two, what's your story? What do you think happened? Then bringing them together and saying, okay, group one, I want you to tell me group two story. And it forces a level of empathy on them to actually think about the other person's perspective. It allows them to clarify miscommunications or, or inaccurate narratives or stories, we interpret the world through stories, Brian, and sometimes we see exactly the same information, we have very different perspectives on what just happened. So if we are creating those stories together, there's a risk of what we've seen.

Brian Nichols  6:35  
The sounds so similar, and mirrors the sales world, when you're going through the sales process, going through a discovery call, building up that level of trust, and you hit the nail on the head, Darrell talking about the importance of empathy. And we've talked about this, actually, we've done many shows, discussing not just the importance of empathy, but how to implement empathy, into your sales conversations into political conversations. Because truly, you hit right there putting yourself in the other person's shoes, right? That will put you in a position to win somebody's trust over I would say over everything else, just because by the nature, now you understand what motivates that person, you're starting to think, like them, and it goes into the innate thing. I think we all kind of, we believe it, whether we realize it or not. And that's we want to have done to us what we do on to others, the golden rule, right? So I think it goes into empathy, right, you can't expect others to treat you the way you want to be treated, unless you first know how you want to be treated, and how others would want to be treated. If that makes sense. It makes

Darryl Stickel  7:41  
total sense. And, you know, I talked about 10 levers in the book, you know, we all have the ability to build trust, some are better than others, those who aren't very good have a lever that they pull it usually it's the ability lever, I have these kinds of credentials, this much background, these, these experiences this role within the organization. These kinds of credentials. Those who are a little better have multiple levers that they pull. Those who are really good have multiple levers, and they know when to pull which one. And so what I try to do both in the book and in the courses that I deliver is walk people through, here's the 10 levers so that they become more informed, they can add them to their toolkit. Now, here's how to pull them. And, you know, let's talk about, you know, one of the other levers is benevolence, this, this belief that you've got my best interests at heart. And I think one of the places where we fall down sometimes, especially in sales, or political leadership, is that we may well have what we think is somebody's best interests at heart, but we haven't included them in that conversation. And so, you know, when I do work with families, I'll stand in front of a group of parents, and I'll say, Who here has their kids best interests at heart? And all the hands go up? When I flip that question, Brian, and I say, Well, how many of your kids would say that it's about a third. And it's hesitant? And so if it's not obvious where it's supposed to be obvious, you know, how well can we build that sense of empathy or that demonstration of benevolence? in a setting where we haven't included the other person in the conversation? We haven't made a transparent we've made assumptions about what's what's best for them without, without asking.

Brian Nichols  9:21  
I feel I don't know. I don't want to necessarily make this a political conversation. But I mean, I feel this is like, the pinnacle of March 2020. Right? When, and you're in Canada, but you know, where I was in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the time, being told by elected officials all of a sudden, right that we have this big, scary virus that we don't know what we don't know. But I'm going to be determining who is considered essential versus non essential. And it was across the board very arbitrary in terms of how these rules are being put forth. And I think right there, you hit the nail on the head where a lot of folks simply were trying to say, Can I ask why can I He raised my hand and ask questions or at least be involved in the conversation. And that was almost entirely shut down, which I think right there, you you hit it right there where it talks about how if you're not included in the conversation, then you're feeling like you can't be you can't be involved in this level of trust, because it doesn't feel like there's equal playing field almost, if that makes sense. Yeah, the way you explained it.

Darryl Stickel  10:25  
Yeah, they don't know me. So how can I trust them to do what's in my best

Brian Nichols  10:30  
interest? Right, it feels essential to me and my family. But that mentality? Yeah,

Darryl Stickel  10:33  
yeah. And so sometimes it's the language we use, sometimes it's the approach we take. And what I really tried to do is help people close the gap between how much they should be trusted how much they actually are. You know, I was at a conference that was being held virtually at Duke, and they were talking about rebuilding trust in politics and in media and in artificial intelligence. And that the title of the conference was rebuilding trust in those institutions. But really, all they did was they spent hours talking about just how bad it is. Right? You know, that, that we're seeing signs and signals that that look like end of democracy kinds of signals? And it's because trust levels are so low, right now, in government, in court systems in all kinds of places. And when the question was asked, you know, how do we, okay, the title of the conference is rebuilding, how do we how do we build it? And the answer was, you don't know. Now, I'm sitting in the audience with my hand up going, Oh, Pick Me Pick Me, because that's what I've been doing for the last 20 years. But, you know, we need to have a shared vocabulary, we need to have a shared understanding of what trust is and how it works. And to be honest with you, Brian, you know, if I think that trust is a combination of uncertainty and vulnerability, so uncertainty times vulnerability gives us a level of perceived risk. And we each have a threshold of risk that we're comfortable with. And if our perception of that risk goes beyond the threshold, we don't trust, if it's beneath it, then we do. So our vulnerability hasn't gone down lately. And when the pandemic came, and actually, our sense of vulnerability went up. And ours certainly went through the roof. Because we had so many different messages, and so many different, you know, rules and regulations across so many different domains. And at the same time, we're seeing changes in values and norms, we're seeing technological changes and advances, we've got all this uncertainty that's spiking all over the place, it's making people incredibly uncomfortable. And so they look for ways to reduce their vulnerability to be more comfortable. And that's why we hear these conversations about quiet quitting and about people checking out and not being involved and not being invested. And, you know, the model I propose suggests that early in relationships, we've got high uncertainty, that means we can tolerate small ranges of vulnerability. As that relationship gets deeper, the uncertainty goes down, the range of vulnerability we can tolerate starts to grow. Well, we're seeing uncertainty bounce all over the place. And we're not doing a very good job of handling it.

Brian Nichols  13:13  
So I guess, and let's now talk about the way we can build trust moving forward. And I think that is the way that we as a society need to really turn it is trying to find some way to rekindle trust. What would you say is the main recommendation to start things off, you know, we're standing here, let's try to bring parties together and build some type of means that the trust feels real, right? It's an authentic feeling of trust, not just a forced, hey, we have to trust each other now. And you guys gotta get along, I'm not gonna let you out of the room until you trust each other. Because anyone, right, so how do we build that real, authentic trust?

Darryl Stickel  13:52  
It doesn't feel genuine. And, you know, and the approach that I take, is, it's about starting having conversations. And, you know, some people have said to me, Well, how do I even start? Well, let me give you a template, you're gonna have a trust conversation with someone, instead of saying, Do you trust me, you're gonna say, I heard this guy, Gerald talking about trust. He said, it's a combination of uncertainty and vulnerability was I hadn't really thought of it that way before but you know, I'm now thinking, how are we vulnerable to each other? You know, we work together. And so I know that for me to be successful, I need you to do your job well, and the folks in your unit to do their job well. And so I understand how I'm vulnerable to you. But how are you vulnerable to me? And what are the uncertainties that we have? You know, like, how well do we know each other? Do Why do you feel passionate about the work you do what what really matters about, you know, what we're doing to you what, what pieces of this speak to you? And so we start to get a clearer sense of one another, we start trying to reduce that uncertainty about each other. So So that's a conversation we can start having. And then an example. You know, when I talk about benevolence, an example of a benevolence conversation is being able to say to someone, look, you know, this guy, Darrell, he was talking about benevolence is having someone else's interests at heart, their best interests at heart. And I think I do that, but doesn't always land that way. Never experienced that the other person will likely respond with Yeah, you know, you've run into that, Brian. And so they start telling their story about, you know, times when they've had good intent, but it landed poorly. And then you start to narrow the funnel, you say, Have you ever had somebody really have your best interests at heart? Like really have your back? What did they do? What did that look like? How did it feel? And now we're starting to prime them to think about some of those situations and those conversations that they've had. And then you narrow the funnel still further, and you say, what would it look like if I had your best interests at heart? What would what does success look like for you? How do I help you get there? What matters to you? How do I help you achieve that? And now all of a sudden, we can be transparent? Right? And so, before we started the show, I asked you what a good guest looks like. And you said, I want someone who makes my listeners think? Well, I'm hoping that I'm doing that. And

Brian Nichols  16:21  
they like being challenged.

Darryl Stickel  16:22  
Yeah. Yeah. So hopefully, this conversation is filling the bill for them. Right, that they're having a good experience, listen to his talk about this topic that can feel so fuzzy and, and strange.

Brian Nichols  16:35  
Yeah, well, in there, I think you talked to my audience. And we've bridged a little bit towards this conversation. In the past, we've had, oh, my goodness, the guest, Kevin value, there we go. He wrote a book called trust in a polarized age. He was on the show two years ago, two years ago. So he was a great guest. And in talking about his book, we've talked about, like I mentioned before, empathy in the world of sales, but also in the world of politics. And this all comes together, right? This talking about how now. And I guess we were talking about it for a reason. Because when we're talking today, it's very apparent that we need to have trust in our society, if we want to have any semblance of cohesion moving forward, it starts with us, rebuilding that trust, and back to the original point, has to be authentic trust. So I dare say, in order to start going that way, I didn't mean to Ryan that. But we can maybe start by reading the brand new book building trust exceptional leadership in an uncertain world. Darrell, do us a favor, talk to us about this brand new book, and what folks can expect when they go ahead and grab their copy. So I've

Darryl Stickel  17:43  
tried to be incredibly open about the model, and about what people can do to pull the different levers that I talked about. My intent was to, I see big, hairy problems in the world, I see us struggling with things like climate change, or or extreme weather events, I see us having pretty profound disputes along political lines. There's race relations, there's, you know, the relationship between the police and the communities they serve. There's, there's a bunch of problems that sort of exist in the world, that, that have complex bases for them, that are going to require collective collaborative action for us to solve. And I felt like I was having huge impact with folks, you know, different leaders and, and families in different places. But it felt like I was dropping grains of sand in the ocean. And so what I wanted was people to come alongside me and pick up great big rocks and drop them in the ocean and create huge waves. Allowing us to have conversations we're not having right now. I mean, I've said a couple of times, I think that there are some sexually transmitted diseases that have higher approval ratings, and most of our politicians right now. And if we need to, we need to sort that out. You know, we need to be able to pull together for our economies to thrive, and for us to reach the goals and objectives that we have. Sorry. So that's why I wrote the book. And the feedback I've been getting is really positive. Both from practitioners, people who, who are leaders, but also from academics who have read the book and said, Wow, it's just mind blowing. Because there's a lot of things that I talked about the usual trust research doesn't talk about. It's a very practical applied approach. A lot of stories in there. It's been told it's quite reasonable. You know, it's not some academic treaties. You'll actually be able to read the book and apply the concepts.

Brian Nichols  19:48  
Good. Well, we will make sure we make it very easy for folks to go ahead and find said brand new book, as we'll include the link to that your Amazon link there for the book over in the show. notes, but also, we will include all of the transcript from today's episode in the show notes as well. And by the way, Darryl, where can folks go ahead and continue the conversation with you over on social media or any other place, email whatever works best.

Darryl Stickel  20:12  
So they can find me on LinkedIn, Darryl stickle. Or they can email me Darrell at trust unlimited.com. I've got a website, trust unlimited.com. You can go on there you can find in the blog section. There's articles, there's, there's other podcasts that they can listen to. There's access to the courses that I run. And so if, if folks want to reach out to me, I'm always happy to try to be helpful.

Brian Nichols  20:37  
Perfect. Well, how about this as we go towards the final bit here on the episode, which is our final thoughts, I'll kick things off. And it speaks to Yes, folks, why it is so important for us to make trust an important topic of conversation. Yeah, it might not be the sexy thing to talk about. It doesn't get all the clicks, like everything else does. But this is the stuff that's actually going to help solve the problems we see out there. Now, at The Brian Nichols Show, what do we talk about, we're not trying to focus on winning arguments, look, that doesn't win anything that makes people mad, divisive, and it only solidifies their pre existing beliefs and arguments that they had originally, unless you have a few folks who maybe are listening on the sidelines. But that's a different conversation for a different day. But going forward, what will actually work is going out and finding the folks who are interested in building real tangible solutions. Let's start there. But with that, start building a culture of trust. Let's start having conversations again, with folks who we have written off. I know there are a lot of folks I have not been speaking to, well, not necessarily not speaking to, but just having spoken to me, I've tried, but again, different conversation for a different day. But with that being said, Folks, let's try to reengage and try to encourage a conversation and a world of authentic trust. That's my final thoughts. Darryl, what do you have for us for yours.

Darryl Stickel  21:55  
Trust is something that we can be intentional about. It's a skill like any other that we can get better at building. And it's actually the core factor for success in sales, or in political leadership or for entrepreneurs. That ability to convince other people that you've got their best interests at heart, that you're the voice that they should be listening to. And, you know, I hope that people will not just buy the book, but read the book and apply the concepts.

Brian Nichols  22:25  
Already, folks, well, with that being said, we're gonna go ahead and include all those links. Like I mentioned earlier in the show notes, all you got to do is if you're joining us on the podcast version of the show, which I know 99% of you are click the artwork in your podcast catcher, it'll bring you to today's episode, you will find today's episode with the transcripts, plus the video version of the show, which you can find over on YouTube. But also we have a video over on rumble and an odyssey as well. Wherever you join us, just do me a favor, hit that little subscribe button and notification bell so you don't miss a single time we go live and by the way, speaking of a rekindling trust. Well, there's a definite episode you need to watch because one area where trust has been completely fragmented is the health care industry. And this is even before COVID happened. So we joined back a couple days ago by Matt Allen from iconic insurance. And he said guys, you're probably spending way too much money on your health care. And you don't need to you want to learn how that is. Well make sure you tune in to that episode. If you're joining us here on YouTube. I'll include that link right here. Otherwise, you can find that episode plus all set 677 other episodes of The Brian Nichols Show over at Brian Nichols show.com But with that being said Brian Nichols signing off. You're on The Brian Nichols Show for Darryl SticO. We'll see you tomorrow.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Darryl StickelProfile Photo

Darryl Stickel


Darryl is one of the world’s leading experts on trust with over twenty years experience. His Ph.D. ¨Building Trust in Hostile Environments¨ from Duke University established him as a global leader for governments, businesses and NGOs on practical approaches to building trust.

Darryl has worked for Mckinsey & Company in their Toronto office, as well as advised the Canadian Military on trust building in Afghanistan. He has served as faculty for the Luxembourg School of Business and the Center for Effective Organizations at the University of Southern California and recently completed his book Building Trust: Exceptional Leadership in an Uncertain World.