Benioff's recent little jibe at Google & Facebook made me chuckle. Google's staff have questioned the integrity of their firm, due to their investigation into creating a Chinese search engine, with government-dictated versions of the truth. Meanwhile Facebook's damaged reputation, due to their previously lackadaisical approach to data privacy, is causing staff to question whether they want to remain at the firm.
His broader point is worth thinking about for a moment though: that as everyone and everything is connected, you can't operate without trust. So from a company perspective how do you ensure that your clients and prospects trust you?
From a client perspective, trust is usually gained by repeatedly doing what you say you will (keeping your word), delivering what is expected and sticking to your principles.
But what if you don't yet hold that relationship? How do you garner trust from people you've not yet spoken to or interacted with? Demonstrating expertise is a good start. Showing what you know, by demonstrating your expertise on a topic, rather than telling people what you do, will cause them to take notice. And when done repeatedly, means prospects start to respect and eventually trust what you as an individual and your company represent.
Stephen Covey summed it up in his book The Speed of Trust; the one thing that changes everything: "Trust is equal parts character and competence".
"In the Fourth Industrial Revolution, when everyone and everything is connected, how can you operate if trust is not your highest value?" asked Benioff. "And I'll tell you what's going to happen: if trust is not your highest value—and you see it in our tech industry right now—your employees are gonna walk out the door. "So you better decide—now!—that trust is your highest value. Because in this new world, as everything is changing, people want to know they can trust you."