David Horsager

David's Point of View: Insights on Leadership and Trust in Business

Have you ever reached the end of a day and felt like you got nothing done? It’s a horrible feeling! Frustrating days like this leave us with a laundry list of people and circumstances that caused our unproductivity. Rewind the clock to your morning coffee and write down your current #1 push forward priority. Then write the numbers 1-5 and list the five most important tasks you can complete in order to come closer to accomplishing your goal. If you could do the frustrating day over again, chances are you would handle your meetings, conversations, and even your individual work time differently. A day in which you accomplished five specific tasks that brought you one step closer to an important goal is a great day.  

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While I agree with Ben Franklin’s idea, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” countless companies have wasted time and money on strategic plans that are collecting dust. People spend lots of time planning but very little time turning those plans into daily actionable tasks. Some suggest that putting your goal in the mirror so you see it every day will make it come true. I would suggest that your mission statement belongs on your mirror, and your goals and tasks associated with achieving your mission are meant for action. Daily clarity leads to accomplishing the most important things every day. Difference Making Actions (DMAs) are the best way I have found to be clear on a daily basis. They will keep you from having a day where you feel like you are busy but getting nothing done. The following idea comes from Charles Schwab, the first American to be paid a million dollar salary.

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The impact of trust on the economy can be witnessed at the corporate level. Bear Stearns, AIG, and Lehman Brothers were at one time considered trust-based businesses. Each of these companies relied on the trust of the market to establish the firm’s value. As trust goes down, value goes down. For instance, the $236 million purchase proposal for Bear Stearns by JP Morgan Chase came just hours after Bear Stearns’ market capitalization was $3 billion. Interestingly, just over a year ago that market cap was $20 billion. As trust in the market tanks, so does the value of the business.

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Few things are as frustrating as working for a manager who gives you an annual review and tells you all the things she thinks you should have been doing during the past year. How is this information helpful now? The year is over. Why weren’t these expectations expressed earlier? If you are a parent, you know how important it is to communicate expectations with your child. So often, a clear communication of expectations will prevent both misbehavior and failure. 

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Is your organization trusted for its commitment to quality? If there’s room for improvement, you might consider reading Philip Crosby’s 1979 classic Quality is Free. 

The main points and why it matters:
  • Crosby sees quality not just as a set of procedures but a way of doing things – a management philosophy that starts with leadership.
  • Many organizations value quality, but they have little-to-no agreed upon measurement system.
  • Most know the cost of quality in their particular group, but not for their organization. Crosby’s research found that organization’s unaware of their quality costs had actual costs of 20% of sales.
  • He offers this 14-Step Quality Improvement Program, which he expands on in his book.

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I had a chance to sit down with the CEO of Compass Strategic Investments. For six months, he lived and worked in the Netherlands, so he had some cultural observations to share. One of the distinctions that he noticed was that Americans often make insincere apologies. When it comes to building trust, being able to say we’re sorry and doing it sincerely is an important skill. However insincere apologies, those made out of habit or indifference, are trust killers.

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What does age have to do with being a big contributor?

Einstein said if you don’t make a major impact in your industry before 30, you probably won’t.

Sackner-Bernstein shows research that disproves this, showing how previous similar explanations were based on a lesser understanding of the brain. In a nutshell, age is an advantage and we must not use anything to let ourselves off the hook for making a difference in society.

Read and watch here.

Growing up on the farm as the youngest of six kids, I learned how to eat fast, talk fast, and interrupt my siblings. Listening has not always come easily to me, and I’m not alone. Listening is a fundamental skill of genuine success, and it’s hard to be great or trusted without it. The benefits of listening include more trust, better understanding, stronger marriages, happier kids, and increased respect at work. Still, being a good listener is hard work! 

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My grandmother was known for reading a book a day. I’m not exaggerating! As a matter of fact, she is famous in our family for reading all of the books in two libraries! She had the habit of waking at 4:00 in the morning to have quiet time to read. Grandma Esther loved to learn. Imagine what you could learn just by intentionally reserving time each day to read. I hope to instill this love of reading in my children as well.  

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Who do you trust more, firefighters or mortgage brokers? Librarians or lawyers? Nurses or salespeople? One of the biggest reasons for trust is the perception that someone is concerned beyond themselves for the good of the whole. Firefighters and nurses care for others by nature of their jobs. But we wonder if the salesperson really has our best interest in mind. Don’t worry if you are in a less trusted line of work. Resolve to be among the trusted in your field. Show that you think beyond yourself; you will be unique and successful in your industry. 

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Top sales people don’t just get to where they are because they make a lot of calls, or because they know the best closing techniques. In most cases, their clients have come to see them less as commission earners and more as trusted partners. In those relationships, when the customer recognizes they’re truly cared for, they show their satisfaction by buying again and again—and referring you to others. 

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I have seen time and again how the committed take responsibility for their actions. In our high-litigation culture, there’s always someone else to blame. It can be easy to point the finger at suppliers, underlings, partners, and managers that just can’t seem to get things right. I have yet to meet this mass of completely incompetent workers, which leads me to think we might be trying to steer some of the fault away from where it belongs–on ourselves.
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In the 21st century, there’s no doubt that each of us will spend considerable time interacting with those of a different culture (or other diversities). Trust-building isn’t easy, and it can be especially daunting the more differences that are present. Here’re some top tips and discussion questions from chapter 14 of The Trust Edge that can help. Consider printing this post to work on with your team this week. Continue reading

I met an 88-year-old man named Orville at my health club, first noticing him one afternoon while checking in. I saw Orville sort of stumbling along behind me. I couldn’t believe my eyes. There was no way this man, slowly shuffling along the path to the gym, was going to work out! Orville patiently moved, inch by inch, into the weight-training area, picked up some dumbbells, and with an audible grunt, started his routine. 

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Sometimes I have the privilege to work with or speak to an organization where I can tell immediately that the people love their leader. Such was the case at the Integrated Supply Chain Leadership Conference for the top leaders of Honeywell’s Aerospace group. From what I could see, why is Mike Owens loved?

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The world is in a trust crisis, and developing the eight-pillar framework of trust is the way out. Top leaders ought to use Trust Trends 2014 as a timely application for developing themselves, their teams, their organizations, and society. The following is a summary of the eight trends, their key embedded opportunities, and the pillar of trust each most corresponds with.

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Machines are becoming more intelligent, interactive, efficient, and precise.

Machines are becoming more intelligent, interactive, efficient, and precise. Nano-technologies are changing clothing, photonic thread is transforming computing, driverless cars are shifting the transportation paradigm, drones are altering warfare, and three-dimensional data visualization is revolutionizing decision-making. Smarter computers deliver increasingly more proficient and precise results.

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