Posted by: Don Linnen | 28 February 2014


Is it earned or given?

That was the question posed by the remarkable Bob Ferguson speaking today at the Rotary Club of Park CitiesThere’s no right or wrong answer to the question.

It made me think. In most cases I’ll trust someone. Maybe that reflects the nature of my friends and family – past and present.

Ferguson, a director at TD Industries, talked about servant leadership. That’s a concept first described by R.K. Greenleaf in 1977 but practiced for millennia.

What caught my attention in Ferguson’s speech was his formula for trust. He said that trust comes from competence and character. For the left-brained geeks among us:

Trust = Competence + Character

In most work spaces you can find yourself working with good-hearted, well-intentioned people – especially in the nonprofit sector. You cannot teach character, but without competence – which can be taught, you will soon be without trust.

It’s nice to work with nice people. It’s better to work with good people. As Abe Lincoln said: “Whatever you are, be a good one.”


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