I was deeply affected many years ago by a workshop of Stephen R. Covey, when he explained that trust can be thought of as a bank account. Here’s the concept:
- You build up trust by your reliable and generous actions, those are the “deposits.”
- You lose trust when you make a mistake and damage someone, those are the “withdrawals.” It’s much easier to make a withdrawal than a deposit.
- When you damage someone more than you’ve benefited them, you’ve exhausted your bank account. They won’t want to trust you anymore, and it’s extremely hard to dig yourself out of that hole.
- Like bank accounts, deep trust is developed over the course of many years. It’s impossible to create deep trust in a short time.
This is a powerful idea, and explains a lot about how people work.