I was thinking about trust yesterday -- and then I heard President Obama talk about our country's need to overcome the trust deficit we have. I think he's right about the nation's need and his comment made me reflect further on the role of trust in politics ....and in business deals.
I'm negotiating a number of deals and throughout the course of negotiations there are many "trust inflection points". It's important to have a sense as to when these points are arising for the other side and to be sure to address them with actions that reinforce trust.
One current example might help: I'm part of a team negotiating a deal with an institutional funding source. Just recently, there was a material change to the team that would affect the institutional funding source perspective -- it might make the perspective more positive and it might make it more negative....but there would clearly be an opinion and a reaction.
I made the decision to risk the deal -- and reveal the new information asap. I am a firm believer in the "no surprises" clause of partnerships. i.e. you don't want to surprise or blindside your partners. I admit - I was nervous. I was uncertain what the funding source partner might think and do. I figured if he overreacted -- and the deal went away....well, the deal and partnership weren't meant to be. But I am excited about doing this deal and didn't want it to go away -- thus, my nervousness. I gave the partner the information on Monday -- and gave him full disclosure on my knowledge.
He appreciated the openness and I believe that this interaction was one of those "trust inflection points". In this instance, the trust pendulum swung forward. I still don't know if the deal is going to get done -- but I do know that overcoming these trust inflection points is critical and necessary in getting any deal done.