I recently picked up and re-read Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. I read it when it first came out in 2009, but its importance has only grown in the last year. It’s funny because when Trust Agents came out I was just embarking on my own project with Kenexa‘s Rudy Karsan to summarize and simplify the major drivers of job satisfaction and employee engagement. Low and behold, a year later one of the most common drivers of engagement is Trust (as in you trust your manager, and you trust that you’re company has a bright future).
Trust Agents is about both trust, and about how technology influences trust. Digital and social media can act as a permanent record and accelerator of your trustworthiness. We’re all leaving a long trail of our activities (good or bad), how we treat strangers (polite or snarky) and how we spend our free time. And yet it’s remarkable how few people seem to really understand this. Whether you self-employed or work for someone else, whether you are a volunteer or looking for volunteers, whether you are in sales or just selling yourself to the single ladies, TRUST is paramount.
Chris and Julien do a great job of breaking it down to six characteristics and associated action steps. They are:
1) “Make your own game” to break out and stand out from the traditional approach.
2) Still be seen as “one of us”, someone who is a member of the community.
3) Use digital and web technologies for leverage (i.e., the Archimedes Effect).
4) Be “Agent Zero”, the center of a large network.
5) Be a “human artist”, the master of soft skills
6) “Build an army”
and what Chris stresses repeatedly in his book and in his blog, always be adding value.
Kevin Kruse is a NY Times bestselling author and keynote speaker. Get more success and tips from his newsletter at kevinkruse.com and check out keynote video clips. His new book, Employee Engagement 2.0, teaches managers how to turn apathetic groups into emotionally committed teams.