May 18, 2021   12:41am

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Who do you trust … Are you trustworthy …. and why?

Who do you trust?  Are you trustworthy yourself?  Take a quick quiz and find out … [Photo courtesy of: CBS Photo Archive]

This whole business of Walter Cronkite as the “most trusted man in America” reminds me of how low our media commentators can go.  When my trusted commentators are Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show” and Bill Maher of “Politically Incorrect,” there’s a problem.  Actually one who has my trust is Fareed Zakaria (CNN, Sunday at 1:00 pm EST), but he doesn’t have a mass following (yet).

So, when I heard about this author, Charles Green, whose co-authored two books on the role of trust in business, I was intrigued.  In short, he believes “trust is a function of being trusting” and that it can be taught and measured and strengthened. He thinks that trust is an overlooked factor in fostering creativity and mitigating a company’s risk.  He even has a formula for determining trustworthiness (see below) and a Trust Quotient Quiz” on his website that you might want to try.

Green cites Cronkite as a powerful example of how to be trusted –by simply being personally trustworthy.  He says the other way to accomplish this is to trust others first. I must say this holds weight for me because whenever someone is too suspicious of my motives, I always think it’s because they aren’t trustworthy and, therefore, they don’t trust anyone else.

But, to the point … Green says that Cronkite’s trustworthiness is right out of the Trust Equation, (C + R + I) / S which goes like this:

1. Credibility =  The first thing people say about Cronkite was that he was honest. That means full credibility — not telling untruths, but telling the whole truth as well. And, having the legit credentials for doing so.

2. Reliability = Cronkite’s work ethic and devotion to a notion of objective truth meant that you could depend on him.

3. Intimacy = This was the part of Cronkite that embodied the American virtue of tough on the outside, but with a soft center. When he teared up and tried to cover his emotions during JFK’s death announcement, he revealed both sides. By keeping his feelings largely to himself — yet not hidden — he embodied integrity.  (SNOETY point: We would say that’s what really got Hillary trust, and, thus, those votes when she let out a few tears.)

4. (Low) self-orientation = the Most Trusted Man in America didn’t get there by calling himself “The Most Trusted Man in America.”   He never showed a hint of self-promotion or of self-interest; he never had an agenda other than his profession, done well.

If you want to know more about Green or the books he’s co-authored, which include Trust-based Selling and The Trusted Advisor, go to  While I haven’t read either book, here’s what Amazon has to say about them: Product Description for:  Trust-based Selling

“Buyers prefer to buy from people they trust. However, salespeople are often mistrusted. Trust-based selling shows how trust between buyer and seller is created and explains how both sides benefit from it. Heavy with practical examples and suggestions, the book reveals why trust goes hand-in-hand with profit; how trust differentiates you from other sellers; and how to create trust in negotiations, closings, and when answering the six toughest sales questions. Trust-based selling … is especially invaluable for sellers of complex, intangible services.” Review excerpts for:  The Trusted Advisor
…  nobody can become successful as a business guru until they first gain the confidence of their clients … Among their most potent suggestions is a practical, five-step development process that encourages outsiders to engage clients by focusing attention on the issues and individuals at hand; listening both to what they say and what they leave unsaid; framing the immediate problem from their perspective; envisioning with them how a solution might appear; and committing jointly to the actions and resources that will bring it about. Also particularly useful is the examination of trust-building during four phases of a client-advisor alliance: at the time the relationship is consummated; during the assignment; after the assignment; and when “cross-selling,” or establishing affiliations with the customer’s associates. Boosting its utility, the book is filled with concise, easily adopted tips like “return phone calls unbelievably fast” and “always tell the truth and not what the client wants to hear.”

Makes you think about how you’re listening and communicating?!

Snoety symbol