Recently, I had the chance to hear a retired C-Suite Executive give a fireside chat. She talked about her years as an Corporate Officer for a number of Fortune 500 companies and after listening to her for 40 minutes she stood out as one of the most unique and engaging leaders I’ve ever met. She had a track record of results and getting things done, but seemed to be incredibly humble and someone that anyone could relate to, not an easy feat for someone of that stature.
It was clear from her 35 minutes of talking that she had an uncanny ability to build relationships, which helped her achieve success. At one point, someone in the audience asked her a question about how she was able to build successful relationships when she came back with an incredible response.
“I think what has helped me is that when I meet someone, if you think about a Scale of 1-10, I tend to start them at a 10. Sure, if they mess up, or lose my trust, they can move down the scale to a 7 or 6, but they can also move back up when they build trust with me to an 8 or 9. However, I think many people, when they first meet others, they start the other person at a 1, and from there, they have to constantly prove themselves in an uphill battle. My approach tends to be a bit more optimistic, positive, and forgiving, but I’ve found that in giving people the benefit of the doubt, I’ve been able to build common ground and trust, and that is the bedrock of a strong relationship. Yes, I’ve gotten burned before, but I’ve won way more than I’ve lost.”
As a positive an optimistic person who loves building great relationships I loved this approach because selfishly, it resonated with me. Trusting people can be hard, but as a C-Suite Executive who needs relationships to achieve results, finding trustworthy partners is an absolute must.
Next time you meet someone, try starting them at a 10 instead of a 1 and see what happens.