To be trusted is among the greatest privileges we can walk under. And conversely, to lose that trust becomes the most expensive relational loss, and regaining it is near impossible.
As business leaders, we can be given, with little question, much trust. By our employees, our vendors, and of course our customers. But when that trust is broken, our reputations are cast in bronze and mortared to the outside of our building, never to be removed.
So what does this mean as leaders? Walk carefully. At all cost do not betray the fragile trust invested in you. Learn to understand what it is like to be your customer, or your employee, or your vendor. Or your competitor. Humility can often put out the fires of broken trust if discovered in the first few minutes of its kindling. But wait too long, and in the mind of your customer, your reputation is in ashes.

Mark Whitmore is the leader and founder of Lodestone, a dynamic firm of experienced, business consultants who help entrepreneurs and managers get what they want from their business.

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