A recent LinkedIn post by a business owner asked if him allowing his employees to work at home one day a week is a sign of trust.

My response was, no; while a nice gesture, trust involves much more than risking a day’s salary, however, exactly what I wasn’t and still am not certain.

A matter of trust

What does trust mean? Is it the same for everyone, for everything, every time?

The trusty Merriam-Webster dictionary says trust is “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.”

Had I committed that to memory in elementary school I likely would have got at least one word correct on a third-grade spelling/word learning test asking me to spell and define “trust”.

But would I have known enough to answer the LinkedIn poster’s question any better than I did? No, I wouldn’t and here’s why.

Merriam-Webster should leave you wondering about the meaning of “assured”, “reliance”, “character”, “ability”, “strength” and “truth” when defining “trust”.

What does any of that mean? Should you care?

You should care!

All words matter particularly when used to define something as important as trust.

You taking action believing someone’s character, ability, etc., is what you need it to be leaves you vulnerable so you’d better be right.

My 6th-grade teacher, Mr Matthew Kim, often said, never use undefined words to define undefined words.

Well, people do that all the time and you should know what they mean prior to accepting what they say as truth.

And in today’s 140 character Twitter world that’s not always easy.

What should you do? Here’s what you should do.

Think before you accept, reject, or act upon anything of importance you hear from anyone.

Do your best to fully understand what you are being asked to do or believe, and of greater importance, the implications to you of them being wrong.

Do that and your contributions to yourself and the world will be far more valuable than if you don’t.

Trust me!

William Matthies founded Coyote Insight in 2000 to help start-ups as well as established companies and brands plan for profitable growth.

In 1986 he founded what was to become the largest independent market research/database marketing company in the consumer electronics and high tech fields. By the time he sold The Verity Group in 1997, the company employed 400+ people at its California and Costa Rica offices.

Today he serves on corporate advisory boards lecturing frequently at industry events around the world on managing change, strategic planning, and customer relations.

William’s spare time is spent seeking out experiences that change his perspective, while at the same time having great fun. A few years ago, he visited Russia for a Mach 2.5 flight in a MiG 25 supersonic aircraft flying to 80,000 feet, the edge of space. Want details? Contact him, he’ll be happy to tell you about it!