• Scott & Jen

Outcomes of High Trust

Updated: Jul 5, 2018

When we chose to embrace trust as a way of life and of doing business, it can significantly impact three areas of our lives.

Consider the findings from a 2010 survey conducted by Gallup, Edelman and Harris Interactive:

  • The U.S. finds itself becoming an increasingly lower-trust society as trust in government, business and media has dropped considerably.

  • Trust in the U.S. media reached its lowest point in 2010 since Gallop started measuring it in the early 1970’s.

  • Only 46 percent trust U.S. businesses to do what is right.

  • Only 40 percent trust the U.S. government to do what is right.

  • Only 37 percent of U.S. employees think their boss is honest.

  • 69 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the ethical climate of today’s society.

What is the cost of this trust crisis? Steven M.R. Covey and Greg Link, in Smart Trust (2011), suggest trust has profound effects on three outcomes in our lives: Prosperity, Energy and Joy.


Trust affects two key components of prosperity: speed and cost to do business. When trust declines in a relationship, on a team or in an organization, speed slows to a crawl and costs go up significantly. Why? Because of the steps that have to be taken to compensate for the lack of trust. Everything takes more time when there is a lack of trust. Low trust creates waste that penalizes interactions and diminishes prosperity.  

On the other hand, when trust is strengthened (and nurtured) in a relationship, on a team or in an organization, speed increases and costs to the business are reduced. People are able to communicate faster, collaborate more effectively and work more efficiently when there’s trust. High trust leads to increased revenues, profits, outcomes and results (increased prosperity).


Another outcome impacted by trust (or lack of) is energy. Consider the following words:  stressful, complicated, exhausting, difficult, unpleasant, frustrating, painful, unproductive, risky, scary. Do these words describe someone with whom you have a low-trust relationship? Which of the words describe what it’s like to interact with that person? Do you feel the energy draining from you as you read the list? Consider these words: fun, beneficial, exciting, invigorating, productive, energizing, enjoyable, straightforward, safe, freeing. Do these words describe someone with whom you have a high-trust relationship? Do you feel your mood and energy level change when you think of that person?

As you consider the contrast, what impact do you think trust (or lack of) may be having on the energy you feel in your personal or family life, in your team or in your organization? How do you think it might be affecting your ability or the ability of your organization to partner and/or collaborate with others?


The final outcome impacted by trust is joy. While most of us don’t usually use the word “joy” when describing our work relationships, we can see it or feel it—or lack of it. When we talk about low-trust relationships, body language often reveals feelings of tension, sorrow, pain and sometimes even fear. When we talk about high-trust relationships, smiles emerge, eyes brighten and body language can become animated. 

According to a 2008 study by Canadian economist John Helliwell, the number one factor linked to joy—even more than income and good health—is trust. Trust also has an impact on joy in teams and organizations in terms of employee satisfaction and talent retention.  In fact, Helliwell’s study also revealed that a 10 percent increase in trust inside an organization has the same effect on employee satisfaction as a 36 percent increase in pay. Trust is linked to joy.

Embracing Trust

When we chose to embrace trust as a way of life and of doing business, we enjoy the benefits of prosperity, energy and joy in both our personal and professional lives. Trust is a fundamental and timeless principle that relates to our quality of life. But for some of us trust is difficult because of a past hurt or situation. Embracing trust doesn’t come easily. However, we have the capacity to change, to overcome. If we desire the prosperity, energy and joy that trust can bring, it’s not enough to give lip service to the idea of trust. It’s not enough to trust once in a while when we think there isn’t risk involved. The greatest dividends come when we choose trust as our approach that governs our choices and decisions.