The Trust Edge – David Horsager [Book Summary]

by Nick

“The Trust Edge” explains why trust is not only a necessary condition for a happy personal life but a fundamental factor in a successful business and business relationship.

The book outlines and discusses the eight so-called “pillars of trust” and argues that these principles must underlie your daily actions in order to get what the author calls the “The Trust Edge”.

David Horsager is a business strategy consultant and leadership speaker. From my personal experience as director of K-Life Inc. and the founder of Special Delivery Productions, he learned how important the ability to build trust for business success. Horsager also works as an Assistant Professor for Organizational Leadership for Bethel University Alumni.

This book is available as:

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Winning the Pinnacle of Trust is Your Strong Competitive Advantage.

No matter how charming you are or how good your product is, if people do not trust you, you miss the most important asset that anyone can possess.

In The Top of Confidence, David Horsager explains why generating trust in people is fundamental to establishing and maintaining long-term, successful relationships.

In particular, it focuses on trust in the business world, where the ability of companies to flourish or die depends largely on the trust of customers and partners.

Presenting the reader with a kind of “anatomy” of trust, the book identifies eight pillars of trust on which all successful enterprises are created: clarity, empathy, character, competence, commitment, communication, contribution and, perhaps most importantly, consistency.

Later you’ll learn how to build trust and then hold it.

You will learn why people trust the opinions of acquaintances more than the opinions of professional critics. And you will understand why increasing trust in others can save you a lot of time, money and effort.

A trusted product is ideal for business: it receives regular customers, free advertising and insurance

Would You Give Your Money to a Bank You Do Not Trust?

The explosion in credit markets in 2008 showed that a sudden and sharp loss of confidence could destroy centuries-old labor in no time – just like a forest fire. This is true for any business. But there is a positive side: if distrust can be the death of a business, then trust can increase its success to a tremendous extent.


One of the reasons is that reliability forms a loyal customer base. And one way to build trust is to fulfill your promises consistently.

If your business has built up a reputation for being reliable, it will not be easy for your customers to abandon you in favor of a cheaper competitor. Indeed, they will have a good reason to stay true, knowing that trusting you means that they can do their job without further calls or double checks, which saves time and money.

In addition, the loyal customer base allows you to more efficiently use your resources, which increases profit and keeps prices low so that your customers are satisfied. And satisfied customers are what you want. They will encourage and promote your business, and act as a safety net in difficult times.

For example, most of us trust friends’ recommendations more than announcements because our friends are not interested in the success of a particular company. Money cannot buy this type of promotion – it is earned by establishing trusting relationships with customers.

Consider, for example, 2009: at the height of the financial crisis, the small software company Passlogix was able to thrive, even ahead of giants like IBM. How?

The company has built its business on a culture of trust and good relations with the customer. For example, if any of their clients encountered problems, they had the opportunity to call the director of the company directly.

Clarity: Know What You Want and Let Others Know It So That They Can Trust You

It is difficult to trust someone whose expectations are ambiguous and whose plans are incomprehensible since the behavior of such a person can be unpredictable. Companies can also fall into a similar trap.

To avoid this, you must make sure that you are honest and clear in your affairs. Most likely, you will see a positive result in your business on the bottom line, as well as in your relationship, to your customers and employees.

For one, clarity of this kind makes for more efficient work.

Indeed, many failures come from a misunderstanding of expectations, so you do not need to expect others to read your thoughts. You should be as specific as possible, because the more accurately you talk about what you want, the more likely you are to get it.

Another way that improves the effectiveness of clarity is that it creates a focus in your business. With a clear plan, for example, it will be much easier for you to structure your daily tasks.

So, every evening, write a list of the six most important tasks the next day. Most likely, you will see a huge increase in productivity. With increased efficiency, clarity can also drive business success with a more direct and clear vision.

Many of the most famous companies in the world started as outsiders precisely because they had a clear idea of ​​the direction of their company. For example, although Google was not the first search engine on the market, it quickly took a leading position, gaining an 80 percent stake. The reason for his success? A simple and clear vision: “Organize world information and make it universal, accessible and useful.”

This was the clear and concise goal that guides the design of every single aspect of Google that we all know and use: from a simple homepage to a search algorithm.

Empathy: to Gain Trust and Respect, Think About Yourself and Take Care of Others

One of the most important triggers of trust is the understanding that the company or person is not only self-serving but also concerned about the good of their customers and employees.

This ability to show compassion and care, in a word, empathy – can be a huge success factor. There are two main reasons for this.

Firstly, compassion supports loyalty. According to a study by the

California Institute of Saratoga, employees will remain with a company that they think cares for them, even when a competitor offers them a higher salary. In contrast, workers will easily leave it if they do not feel the respect of their superiors and their own worth, regardless of pay.

For example, Starbucks is known in the industry for its very low annual employee turnover rate. A company can fulfill such a “culture of loyalty” by providing benefits to most of its employees, such as healthcare and pension payments, for example. As a result, the company saves millions due to the low cost of training and staffing.

Secondly, compassion boosts your reputation. Consider, for example, Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo since 2004, whose vision as a leader was “to bring what is good for our business along with what is good for the world.” To this end, the company, led by Nooyi, produced healthy foods such as oatmeal and low-calorie minerals, and participated in anti-food programs. obese. As a result, PepsiCo’s profits and influence have increased.

Character: Live According to Your Moral Values ​​and Be Consistent in Thoughts, Words, and Actions

Of all the other traits of a great leader, character is the most important, as people who consistently demonstrate character will always inspire confidence. But what “character” do we mean?

In terms of gaining trust, this means displaying two qualities: honesty and morality. The integrity of the sequence in thoughts, words and actions. In other words, the opposite of hypocrisy.

For example, if a doctor with pronounced obesity strongly recommends you improve your diet, will you follow his advice? Or imagine that Martin Luther King Jr. would talk about pacifism with a gun in his hands. Would his messages be credible?

Morality means striving to do the right thing from an ethical point of view, even if it requires sacrifice. Take mother Teresa, for example, a Nobel laureate and one of the most beloved and respected leaders of recent times. Mother Teresa has influenced people’s minds so much that even today more than a million employees in forty countries continue her work, helping the poor. What is the reason?

People admired her willingness to sacrifice even her needs in order to help others satisfy their own. Of course, doing the right thing is not always easy. But it will help you in the long run.

What can I say, a lie for salvation, for example, is usually more convenient than a direct conflict. But if you do this, the truth is, in the end, “will come out.” For example, in 1986, the space shuttle Challenger exploded due to damage to the o-ring. The O-ring manufacturer, Morton-Thiokol, was aware of the risk, however, in order to meet deadlines and avoid criticism, the company agreed to launch.

The result?

Morton-Thiokol cornered himself, admitting much of the blame for the disaster. Therefore, make sure that you act according to your moral principles always – even if it seems that no one is paying attention to it.

Competency: Instead of Resting on Your Laurels, Continue to Study to Maintain Your Competence

If you say that you trust your doctor, then you probably trust his intention to help you and his ability to prescribe the best treatment. You probably would not have entrusted her with preparing your tax return or fixing the brakes on your car. Because trust, in fact, is inseparable from competence and ability. Therefore, in order to maintain confidence, it is very important to maintain your competence.

One way to do this is to keep abreast of the latest developments in your field. According to financial expert Joe Murt, most leading companies in their industries are not able to maintain their positions for longer than ten to fifteen years. Created companies do not feel the need to stay fresh and innovative, so sooner or later competitors will be able to catch up with the company or even surpass it.

This happened with the American automobile industry. In 1979, the three largest US automakers – Ford, GM, and Chrysler – sold nine out of ten cars in the domestic market. Today their share is less than 40%.


The main reason is the decrease in incompetence. American manufacturers have resisted innovation for too long, which has given enough time to German and Japanese companies to improve, and, ultimately, they have become more reliable than competitors.

Take Bayer, for example, it has been a leading painkiller on the market for fifty years. Bayer was aware that the demand for alternative, cheaper painkillers was huge, but he did not dare to create something that could compete with his “cash cow” – Aspirin. As a result, Johnson & Johnson quickly captured the market, releasing Tylenol in the 1990s.

Obviously, it is important to continue to study, even if you have already achieved success, as this will allow you to anticipate market trends and respond to sudden and unpredictable changes.

Commitment: Keep Your Promise, Even if It Involves Sacrifice

We often hear the saying: “A friend is in need.” With those who stand by your side, even if it requires their efforts and sacrifices, relationships will be most valuable. This applies equally to leaders.

For example, a manager who strives for the prosperity of a company even in difficult times. Lee Iacocca, for example, is known for his performing skills in Chrysler’s leadership during the serious crisis of the 1980s. To save the company from bankruptcy, he applied radical measures, such as the dismissal of employees and the sale of unprofitable units in Europe. But he also made sure that the most talented employees did not leave the company during this difficult period.


He rubbed confidence in them through a powerful symbolic gesture: for as long as the Chrysler was in difficulty, he received a salary of only $ 1 per year. This sign of commitment earned him deep respect and raised the fighting and team spirit that was critical to Chrysler’s rebirth.

Another example of the benefits of commitment is Harley-Davidson motorcycles, which were bought by a group of business savvy motorcycle enthusiasts in 1981. At that moment, the famous brand was in terrible condition: motorcycles were rated too high but were poorly made, and the name itself generated the image of tattooed gang members in most people.

But the new management team worked tirelessly to achieve practical solutions. They included outsourcing the production of individual components to ensure higher quality, advertising campaigns to increase the image of the company and the adoption of certain management principles (quality points). The result of their commitment?

Today, Harley-Davidson owns 45% of the US heavy motorcycle market, and its stock price has risen more than 17% over the past twenty-five years.

Commitment is not only a tool for gaining trust, but one of the most desirable qualities that we can find in our friends, loved ones and, of course, our leaders. Keeping your promises and being ready for self-sacrifice for the sake of your convictions, you will become a respected and trusted person in all spheres of life.

Connections: Know the People Around You and Build Relationships With Them

Would you believe a friend’s recommendation, say, on a new laptop more than a positive review from a professional critic? One study found that nearly 90% of people do just that. Although critics are usually considered experts, your friends have knowledge of something more important — what you like and how you judge things. In other words, they know you.

Also business: knowing your customers, employees and other interested parties, as if they are your friends, will give you a decisive advantage over your competitors. For example, if you know your customers well, you will know how to satisfy their needs. And the closer you are to them, the more readily they will provide you with feedback and suggestions on how to improve your product or service.

Good communication is especially important for leaders. For example, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your employees, you can easily assign the right tasks to the right people. And knowing what kind of satisfaction they prefer, you can raise morale and keep everyone motivated.

Another advantage of knowing the people around you is that it can reduce misunderstandings and help resolve conflicts. Interpretation and understanding of the behavior of people around you become much easier, as well as avoiding conflicts or resolving them if they happen.

But, of course, communicating with people is not always easy. The main thing is to remember that you do not have to be charismatic or a genius to communicate with people. Easy communication with people and natural magnetism does not mean that you should be an extrovert or an overly charismatic person.

In fact, many attractive characters are actually introverts who have developed the ability to listen and empathize, and to be optimistic, honest, curious and grateful. Trust in a relationship. To build them, you don’t have to be particularly charismatic: you just have to be sincerely interested in what others are saying.

Contribution: Make and Receive Rewards for Results

Investors are always productive. They know that a good plan does not cost much if it does not affect them and they see it through and through. Completing projects and tasks is extremely important, but perfectionism often paralyzes us and prevents us from completing them successfully. But while achieving excellence, the product of trust is also important: it is always better to produce good enough completed work than ideal, but unfinished.

Imagine that your customers are constantly waiting for you. In such a situation, you not only spend their money and time but also destroy their trust in you. Although striving to do a great job is a worthy goal, you must strive to remain within the framework of conscious progress that works towards completion.

There are two main principles that will help you complete projects as quickly as possible.

Firstly, make a plan: write a list of the most urgent or important tasks for the day, and make sure that you complete it.

Secondly, keep your email inbox and your desktop in order, as this will help you minimize distractions that impede your progress. In particular, you should not delay making important decisions, as this will lead to increased confusion and confusion, and then stress.

But investors are not only performers. They are also donors: people who first believe what they can do for others, and not what others can do for them. In other words, they act according to the axiom: “The more you give, the more you get.”

Accordingly, donors are usually happier than people who look only towards their own benefit, as they create long-lasting relationships and enjoy an indelible positive impact on other people’s lives. And since many of these people are grateful to them, donors often receive support when they themselves need help.

Building trust means doing and giving. This will reward you with a sense of success and human connections.

Consistency: The Daily Practice of Pillars of Trust in Everything You Do

Consistency is the final, and most important component of trust, because it underlies the other seven pillars: if you do not practice clarity, determination, and character consistently, their influence will decrease, and any, even the strongest trust, can be destroyed.

But you should know that, of all the pillars, consistency requires the most patience. It will cost a lot of effort, although building confidence in any relationship is never more difficult than restoring it after damage.

For businesses, consistency is the only way to build a reputation and brand. Most people will not take risks every time they buy one of your products, so in order to gain their trust, you will have to consistently supply products of the same quality.

McDonald`s fast-food giant is a great example of a consistent company. Wherever you buy their hamburgers: New York, Tokyo or Berlin, they always have the same taste.

Another example is Wall-Mart, which continues to grow despite being publicly criticized for its outsourcing practices, resistance to unions, and gender discrimination. The reason for the steady growth of the enterprise is that it is steadily fulfilling its promise: “Always low prices.”

These examples suggest that consistency is at the core of trust because trust can only arise over time. There is no single opportunity in which you can gain the trust of friends or customers. Rather, there are thousands of tiny opportunities with which you can earn trust by being consistent in your behavior.

Trust is like oxygen in the air that we breathe, we almost never think about it, but it is an integral part of our life. Just as breathing is essential for our survival, consistent use of the target pillar is critical to maintaining trust. Every fact of communication is considered.

Trusting others reveals their best qualities.

Trusting others, of course, is critical to success, both in personal life and in business. But what is the feedback? How much should you trust others? And is the saying true: “Trust, but verify”, right?


Often, the potential benefits of trusting people outweigh any possible harm. By expanding trust in others, you can give them the opportunity to be better as much as they can.

Indeed, one huge advantage of increasing trust in others is that it can be a huge motivator. We were all in situations where we were completely controlled by others, so our creativity and sense of initiative seemed completely unattainable. In addition, those involved in these controls infringed on themselves too, because they spent a lot of time and energy: he not only determined what tasks should be performed, but also how they should be performed.

On the contrary, if you are entrusted with an important task or project, you will feel that you are valued. And by delegating significant tasks to subordinates who have already proven their worth, you both acknowledge your accomplishments and give more room for growth.

But you must keep in mind that trusting others means taking risks. For this reason, you should think strategically and trust people with the tasks and responsibilities that you think they can handle.

Another advantage of an increasing trust is that it reduces transaction costs. In an environment without trust, a lot of resources take control of the effectiveness of people’s actions. But if you create a culture of trust, you can improve both efficiency and effectiveness.

Consider, for example, the popular donut tray in New York, whose owner allowed customers to name their own prices. Compared to other similar trays in the same area, it serves twice as many customers in the same period of time, and therefore more than makes up for any losses due to poor math skills or self-interest of its customers.

Confidence can be restored if you are patient and willing to go the extra mile.

Trust resembles a forest in the sense that it takes years to grow it, but only a moment to be destroyed by a forest fire.

Fortunately, trust can be restored, but it is difficult to achieve and requires a lot of patience, as it can happen only if you persist in the following specific steps.

If you let someone who trusted you, for example, without delivering the goods on time, you must first take full responsibility for the failure and apologize. This is a very important step, because if you start to blame others, you will destroy any remaining trust.

After you apologize, you must give people enough time and space to restore confidence. At this time, you can try to figure out what you can do to solve the problem. Often this can entail much more effort, the next time you have to fulfill your promise.

Unfortunately, however, sometimes trust cannot be restored: the people you let down can be so deeply wounded that trust cannot be restored, no matter what you do. When this happens, the only option is to acknowledge the reality of the situation, learn from your mistakes and move on.

When a company loses customer confidence, these customers tend to project their distrust on everything that they associate with this company: its products, employees, and even the logo. In this situation, the company may have enough name or logo, or restructure its management. But this only works if the company actually draws lessons from its mistakes and, as a result, makes profound changes to ensure that the problem does not recur in the future.

Destruction of a Reputation Will Take Only a Few Seconds – Restoration May Take Years.

Building trust globally requires more effort

In a globalized world, there are many wonderful things, such as easy access to foreign goods or the ability to travel to exotic countries. However, such a world also poses a huge challenge to building confidence.

One of these problems stems from the diverse origins of people, as this can undermine trust. Although it is true that teams composed of employees with different backgrounds can generate great ideas because each team member looks at the problem from a different angle, it is also a fact that such diversity cannot be a source of conflict and misunderstanding.

This comes from the fact that we are more attentive to people who are similar to us, and it is to them that we tend to trust more. This does not mean that mixed teams are an inherently bad idea. In fact, they are often much more productive than homogeneous and close-minded. But they could be improved: realizing the cultural differences and misunderstandings that may arise as a result of working together, members of such teams can become more productive.

Compared to gaining the trust of those who are similar to us in their cultural factors, it is usually more difficult to gain the trust of foreigners, and this requires extreme caution. In particular, you should be careful in the following points: first, ignore the customs of another culture. Ignorance can lead to skepticism of your intentions and abilities. Therefore, if you are traveling abroad, and the owner is trying to give an idea of ​​his culture, try to be an attentive student.

Secondly, do not pretend that cultural differences do not exist. If something in their culture seems strange to you, speak openly about it, but stay objective. It will be interesting to owners to hear your point of view.

Finally, do not create stereotypes for foreigners. Instead, try to recognize them as personalities. This is especially important in economically significant countries (such as China, Russia, Japan and India), since relations there play a much more important role in business than in Western countries.

Doing business in other countries can be extremely profitable. However, international business relations often cannot take place because there is a lack of trust between individual negotiators. In this situation, as in many others, the “peak of trust” becomes especially important.

The Final Words

Trust is crucial for all aspects of our lives: in business and in personal life.  For this reason, we must resort to the eight pillars of trust: clarity, empathy, character, competence, commitment, communication, contribution, and consistency. The last of these, sequence, is especially important because each interaction with another person has the potential to decrease or increase confidence. Living according to these principles, you can reach the “peak of confidence”.

Make realistic promises and keep them.

Never make promises that you cannot keep. No matter how insignificant they are, breaking promises will always make you less reliable. Caring and communication reduce misunderstandings and conflicts. Caring for people makes you the best leader, manager, employee, etc. If you are really interested in those around you and can establish a connection with them, you will have less confusion and conflict.

Often you will need to take a chance and trust someone. In some rare cases, your trust may not be justified, but in general, people will feel valued because you trust them and will strive to do everything possible to meet your expectations.

Why You Should Read “The Trust Edge”

  • To become a better leader;
  • To work with clients effectively;
  • To improve relationships in all areas of life;

This book is available as:

AudiobookeBook | Print