Struggling with Low T

27 Jun

This time of year, I have some challenges with the Presidents. By that I mean the presidents of the seven BNI chapters with whom I work. The presidents, or in some cases, the larger leadership teams, work with me in various ways to identify the incoming fall leadership.

One challenge we face is timing. Things just seem to move along more slowly than ideally, and sometime slowly enough to be a problem. Information has to be entered, communication begun, the incoming people have to clear their schedules for training, get oriented, identify support people, and other such transitional activities.

Another challenge is the exact role I play with each of the chapters. Each chapter has its own culture and traditions. I have varying history with each chapter, ranging from several years to only a few months. In some cases I am actively working to aid the current president or team in the process and in others I’m much more at arm’s length. By role and responsibility I should be involved in discussions, or at least be aware of progress in the selection. Technically, I approve or sign off on the selections, so the whole thing being more collaborative, or at least communicative, is good. It becomes “us” not  “you-me” or “you-us.”   Even given those varying relationships, I must say that in every instance, I do respect the people in each one of those leadership roles, and appreciate their dedication and desire to serve their chapters and all the member well. I see it in action, and know it to be so; it can be a lot of work, and a bit of a thankless job at times.

We like early, we like collaborative, we like communication. Who doesn’t like open, honest, aware, early and smooth?

In the instances where collaboration is on the lesser side,  my first, gut reaction is a bit of disillusionment with the other players. However, as I think more carefully about the dynamic in those instances, I realize that a big contributor to the challenge in some cases might be  the fact that I have Low T.

AH! Too much information!!! Why is that even relevent?

Sorry. By Low T, I mean Low Trust. Or, more accurately, there is low trust of me. At least, too low to get the job done well.

I’m not always aware I have Low T. In the case of BNI chapters and leadership, I generally think I have served the chapters well. I’ve stepped in to help as requested. I’ve offered positive and useful suggestions and advice. I’ve gone the extra mile in some cases.  My first instinct, which I think is pretty typical, is to declare to myself, “Gosh! What’s up? She/he/they should trust me. I’ve earned their trust!”  But, alas, it doesn’t work that way.

You see, trust, as is beauty, is in the eye — or heart — of the beholder.

Probably most of us experience, at one time or another, a sense of entitlement about trust. We feel we’ve earned a certain amount of credibility, influence, or trust by what we’ve done, whether through time, association or actions; we feel that we deserve it, are entitled to it, and we want it!

But there’s the rub: you get the trust you’ve earned. How much earning is that? As much as is required by the person whose trust we seek.

We might encounter unique or extreme instances of needing to excessively earn someone’s trust. However, I think the vast majority of the time, what is required of us falls within the bounds of normal human interaction. But within those bounds, there is a wide range among people of what defines “sufficiently earned.”

Trust is not an all or nothing thing. In the case of a BNI chapter, leadership might trust me in some areas, but not be willing to open up in others. We learn in BNI that trust takes time. Actually, it takes time and particular actions, in some unique, required combination, before a chapter, or a person, will trust me in certain areas, but perhaps not with others. This is the same across all of life and business. One may never really know how much is enough until they want to cash it in and realize they come up short.

I said earlier that we like early, we like collaborative and communication, we like open, aware, and smooth. Not enough trust? No openness. Not enough trust? Less willingness to be collaborative. Not enough trust? Communication suffers. Not enough trust? Less willingness to work harder to get it done sooner.

Everyone we know is a trust banker with their own “transaction” criteria; we must make a sufficient number of trust deposits into their particular trust account before we can transact with them. Time is a factor: we must make deposits into the trust account long enough until we attain a sufficient balance. Frequency matters: not making deposits into the account frequently enough means the balance doesn’t grow as fast as we’d like. Then there’s idleness: if an account sits unattended too long, it tends to lose value. How about consistency: we must make regular, often small, deposits over time until the trust account hits a sufficient balance; little things can add up to quite a lot.  A big deposit can help a lot, some action of really stepping up to help or serve. Still, a few big deposits may tip the scales, but in my experience those assets can evaporate if that’s ultimately all there is.

Then there are WITHDRAWALS! It’s been said that trust is built by drops but lost by buckets. I think we often consider all of the deposits we’ve made, but tend to easily overlook the withdrawals. Small withdrawals can add up over time and before we know it, our account is broke.  When it comes to withdrawals, small actions and neglects seem to multiply into big losses; drops that went into the resevior easily turn into buckets coming out.  We think we’re doing fine and then one small thing zeros out the account. Of course, one or two big withdrawals can break the bank, no matter how big the balance.

Warning: early withdrawals may result in heavy penalties.

Having some difficult interaction with someone? Not getting what we need or want? Wondering why a relationship or interaction hasn’t moved along better or why it went bust? Log into your trust accounts and take a look at your transaction histories.

Drops. Buckets. Deposits. Withdrawals. We shouldn’t wait until we get the overdraft notice. We need to review our regular monthly statements. I thought my statement with some of the presidential trust accounts was looking pretty good, but I realize upon reflection that I should continue to work even harder at building up those balances. Life’s work it is, with everyone, all of the time.

2 Responses to “Struggling with Low T”

  1. bobwyzguy June 29, 2014 at 14:56 #

    Thanks Chris for your insights. I really enjoyed this posting, and I had to think of ways that it pops up in my work life, as a computer technician. Low or High T probably has everything to do with why some clients just take my advice wholeheartedly, and why some of them resist or refuse the same suggestions.

    • chriscorreia June 29, 2014 at 15:08 #

      Thanks for the feedback and participation, Bob. I think it can be a challenge to accurately assess where we stand in regards to trust with others. Perhaps the lesson is to think of those folks whose trust we most want or need, and then to be sure to foster that trust with regular, sufficient and meaningful actions.

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