Building a Foundation of Trust

When Doug Hekking, USANA’s Chief Financial Officer, writes about trust and integrity, we all should listen. Doug and I have worked closely together for many years, and I’m grateful for his leadership.

Recently, Doug offered several thoughts on these important topics in an article for USANA employees. I’d like to share key points from his article here in hopes that they might resonate with you.

The foundational building block of establishing trust with others is to, first and foremost, seek to become trustworthy yourself.

Doug Hekking, USANA Chief Financial Officer

Doug Hekking, USANA Chief Financial Officer

“Our expectation of others and our willingness to trust others is often a manifestation of how we view ourselves,” Hekking writes.

Certain characteristics and competencies are inherently linked to trust and integrity:

  • Honesty
  • Do what you say you’ll do
  • Humility
  • Speak up

If you embrace these character-building values, you are creating a solid base that will be apparent to both yourself and those around you.

Building Trust: What Are Your Intentions?

I’m humbled to share the following advice. It’s something Hekking says he learned from me following one of our interactions. Over the years, we’ve disagreed at times on certain issues. While our conversations sometimes became heated, they were never vitriolic.

“After one of these conversations, it was weighing on my mind how I spoke to Kevin,” Hekking writes. “I reached out to apologize for how I communicated and his response proved to be one of those learning moments in my life that has never left me.”

Thinking back, I remember explaining that I understood Hekking’s intentions were pure and his motivations were in the best interest of USANA. Therefore, I didn’t take offense and appreciated his passion.

Demonstrating positive intent/motivation provides a real opportunity to improve and enhance our communication with each other.

“We are in times where there is a great deal of change,” Hekking writes. “As you demonstrate your capabilities, follow through, and deliver results, you will fortify others’ belief and trust in you.”

The Basics of Trust

Hekking continues to highlight ways in which employees and managers within an organization can create trusting relationships. Besides being honest with yourself, you build trust through:

  • Honest, candid dialogue
  • Mutual respect
  • Transparency
  • Owning mistakes, learning, and moving on

Actions speak louder than words. There needs to be alignment between what we say and do.

At USANA, we do this well. When we make mistakes, we acknowledge them and set things right. Our actions show we advocate for our customers as key stakeholders.

You’ve heard me say it before, but I’m proud that we hold true to our core values.

Build a Safe Zone of Communication

Finally, communication is so important as we work to build and maintain trust. It’s critical that you welcome open and honest dialogue. To do this, listening is key.

Whether you’re an employee or a manager, create a safe environment to have open and honest dialogue.

“If someone is talking to you, be present and listen—really listen,” Hekking writes. “Don’t placate with hollow conversation.”

Interact in a transparent way. Welcome differences of opinion. And recognize employees are the experts at what they do.

As organizations grow, one person can’t be the expert in all things. Encourage an open dialogue where people are respectful, but they also feel free to disagree and offer a diverse perspective.

“In my experience, when the right employee is given responsibility and accountability, that person steps up and shines,” Hekking says. “Such growth encourages those of us in leadership roles to be confident to delegate and empower our teams. When employees take advantage of opportunities and deliver on them, they add to the building blocks of trust and confidence.”

Building trust takes practice and commitment. My sincere thanks to Doug Hekking for sharing such strong advice on this topic.

As he concludes, “Trust is a multidirectional, daily exercise, with responsibility on both sides. And it all starts with each of us.”

To view additional articles in this series, please click here.

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