Have you ever lost someone's TRUST? Have you ever lost TRUST in someone?
What an awful feeling when it's in business and not only did you lose trust, but you lost time, money, energy and your intellectual widgets!
Picture trust as an invisible comforter keeping you warm and safe on a cold winter's night. Trust is built from love, caring, integrity, respect, reciprocity, and reputation. Sometimes you earned the reputation and sometimes you gained it by default association. Trust is a core thread in the fabric of humanity and it sucks (and costs money) when you lose it.
I have a personal story to share about trust.
Let's talk trust in business.
Let's talk trust in marketing.
Let's talk trust in relationships.
Let's talk about proactive trust (written agreements)
and let's talk about losing it.
I was recently approached by someone I didn't know. I was invited to be interviewed in their online summit and was transparent that I didn't have the requisite # of people on my email list so I may not be a fit.
The young woman asked that we set a time to speak on the phone to discuss my corporate leadership coaching and training work. She was interested in a possible collaboration. I said yes and thought I'd start my due diligence on that call. (Not best idea)
On the phone she told me the coach and team she works with were answering their first RFP (request for proposal) - for a large corporate coaching and training contract and would be needing professionals with whom to collaborate. She painted the picture that I would be perfect for parts of the work. Straight off she lacked logistical understanding of how to structure a partnership or joint venture - duly noted.
I recognized how little business experience she had in this realm and was kind of surprised she expected me (or anyone) to share my intellectual property for the RFP without a contract in advance. I suggested that her boss contact me to discuss how my law firm Trager Law PLLC could help so they can build a professional foundation for this and future ventures.
She said they didn't have the budget for that. Meanwhile, the online summit she invited me to speak on was to do with millionaires, abundance and prosperity (head scratch).
*I SHOULD HAVE DISCERNED RIGHT THERE BUT I MADE A MISTAKE!
The woman who was my contact was super kind and personable and asked if I knew anyone certified in a certain training modality because the RFP called for a practitioner with that expertise for a minimum of a certain number of years. Hmmm social capital request....
The contract would have been a hearty six figure deal, "with plenty of abundance for all participants..."
I reached out with a call to a group of professionals (HIGHLY SOPHISTICATED) for someone with this certification. I received a response quickly, we spoke, I told her I don't know these folks, I wasn't sure on their expertise, they were picking my brain, and said it is in your court if you want to give it a go. I truly wanted to pass on this opportunity to someone in my community and let them decide.
*I SHOULD HAVE DONE MORE DUE DILIGENCE BEFORE REFERRING A PROFESSIONAL RESOURCE -(SOCIAL CAPITAL) EVEN WITH MY DISCLAIMER
I made the introduction.
Shortly after the consultant came back to me perplexed at how things were flowing and the sorely missing professionalism that was costing her time and intellectual widgets, I again said, I really didn't know them. Based on what I understood, the deadline was passing and I didn't realize how much work she had already done for them at that point.
*I ASSUMED THE CONSULTANT WAS PULLING OUT AT THIS POINT BECAUSE I THOUGHT THE DEADLINE HAPPENED AND SHE WAS FED UP.
So the consultant (who I referred) came back quite angry after many failed attempts to steer the other folks in a productive direction She was totally right. They were using her knowledge, experience, intellectual property and credentials to create this proposal without remuneration if the contract wasn't won and they did not show up as promised.
*THERE WAS NO CONTRACT.
If you're going to do a joint venture, do not begin giving your side of the value unless you protect yourself, your rights and the outcomes you desire- no matter how much you trust. Never wait for someone else to give you a contract no matter which side you're on. If you're representing your business as a vendor, partner, participant, speaker, joint venture,... set YOUR terms up front in writing.
If they do happen to give you a contract, you can always negotiate and use it as a base for forming your own terms.
BUSINESS IS TRICKY THAT'S WHY IT'S CALLED A GAME.
We want to trust others, give the benefit of the doubt and hope for the best. It's uncomfortable when we're having a great conversation and flow is there, to pause and say, "I'll send over an agreement shortly since I have to follow my business policy or my board will not be happy with me."
WHEN UNCOMFORTABLE SETTING BOUNDARIES BLAME IT ON YOUR BOARD.
Your board may be your alter ego who will surely give you sh*t later if you don't follow the policy so blame it on the board!
Well the high vibe message of abundance and prosperity was certainly not conguent. The consultant I referred ended up giving so much time, expertise and energy in good faith intent that the others would show up and do their part, that when they continued to miss deadlines and fail to show professionalism along the way, she decided she didn't want her name on the RFP.
I WOULDN'T EITHER.
She asked that they remunerate her for the value they did receive in the process. They declined saying that they didn't have that agreement.
Well, I'll save the loop hole here (it's a secret for now). Instead I'll share the following tips in case they may be useful to you.
TIP #1: Do your due diligence before referring a professional resource if you value that relationship, your reputation and social capital.
TIP #2: Take responsibility for your part in the game because it takes all involved to create the situation and we all have something to learn.
TIP #3: Be Congruent in your business practices when it comes to reciprocity so they match your marketing message. I've seen time and again spiritual / personal development coaches and mentors just not 'do the right equitable thing' because of a contract or lack thereof.
RECIPROCITY is the FOUNDATION OF MINDFULNESS AND THE BEDROCK OF TRUST.
TIP #4: Never give your time and value away assuming others will value it without having a contract from the start covering all bases and possible outcomes. I'm guilty of this too, it's not easy when your words are your widgets! Building this boundary feels amazing and being prepared in ADVANCE with a tool box of agreements does wonders! (we can help you with that)
TIP #5: Never refer someone even if you disclaim up the wazoo that you 'don't know them and it's up to you" without doing due diligence (I usually never do this and I learned a big lesson here)
TIP #6: Be the master and listen to your gut early on. People teach you who they are and how they operate right up front. They can be awesome and truly kind which makes discernment a bit tricky. Learn that feeling you get, and listen for it.
As the great guru of mindfulness Thich Nhat Hanh says, "The master can see if the student is or is not awake. If for example the student shuts the door noisily or carelessly he is demonstrating a lack of mindfulness."
If you have the same experience of frustration, friction, resistance and NO FLOW, more than twice, figure out how to salvage your time, costs and exchange, (even pretend you're still on board) then end it! *Know when to cut your losses! and trust when you can get them back. (we can help you here)
TIP #7: Contracts make life easy, but don't assume because you don't have a document that you don't have a contact! Sometimes that's the furthest from the truth! Recourse comes in a few flavors.
TIP #8: If you feel burned in business, talk to a business lawyer or business coach with experience in negotiations. Everyone has a different idea of what's going on and a document makes the whole darn thing better!
I share this not to speak negatively about anyone. It's really just a good set of facts for all to learn from- and in law and business school (and life), we learn with sets of facts.
Borrow my learning from this lesson. In my opinion, mindfulness in business means doing the right thing to create an equitable and fair solution for all. That right there is the best kind of prosperity.
Chief Catalyst, Intentional Paradigms
BUSINESS STRATEGIST | LEADERSHIP COACH
SPEAKER | FUTURIST | ATTORNEY
Unlock Purpose, Unleash Potential, Create Your Legacy Impact!
Founder of Trager Law PLLC
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