Relationships depend on trust, and the little things matter. Are you accountable? When you give your word, is it ironclad? It’s easy to make promises, and even easier to go back on them. If you want people to rely on you—in business and in life—you need to be reliable.

Sounds obvious? Well, it’s amazing how many find out the hard way what happens when you don’t deliver on your promises.

Don’t make promises you can’t keep. We make little promises all the time, often without really thinking about it. I’ll call you back after lunch, or I’ll send you that study when I get in the office tomorrow. Every one of those promises—big and small—is an opportunity to show that you mean what you say… or not.

Trust takes time, and it’s hard to win back once you lose it. When we were kids, teachers, parents and coaches called it accountability. Get your homework done on time, and show up to soccer practice with your cleats and shin-guards. Don’t cheat on exams or spend your lunch money on something else. You learn (after making some mistakes) what the consequences were for screwing things up. After a certain age, we call this “integrity.” And the stuff we learned in school, and from our parents (at least I did and I bet most of you did too) still applies… and means so much more.

Did you make a commitment? Stick to it. Did you twist the truth? Straighten it out. Did you deliver what you promised, when and how you said you would? Don’t give yourself the option for any answer other than, “Yes!” Your personal and professional relationships depend on it.

TRUST Simplified… TRUST is different from most things we earn. It is highly valued, but it can’t be bought, sometimes shared, but that window closes quickly when overused as it often is. It must be earned, but cannot be sold. Its lifespan will be as long as you are willing to nurture, respect, and care for it. IMHO trust has a way of earning its own value and maintaining its own lifespan. Those who seek it, and want to keep it, have to live with that reality. “REAL trumps PERFECT… because REAL creates TRUST.”

A “brand” is what a business/person does; a “reputation” is what people remember and share. That’s RETURN ON RELATIONSHIP!

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