Sometimes it takes a while to trust people.
There was a lot of discussion about peer groups this past week at the 2012 Farm Futures Business Management Summit. The talk revolved around producers working together on their business with other producers who don’t happen to be their competitors. They are, however, alike in many ways facing similar challenges or diverse enough to provide a great outside perspective. I know farmers love to come together at conferences like these to gain new ideas and insights from other farmers.
Whether it’s a peer group or an advisor, the qualities of trust and respect are important to help us feel good about the relationship. We will want to participate freely. When trust and respect exist, we are more likely to go “all in” gaining the most from the opportunity.
There’s an underlying piece to this that can help us accelerate the speed of trust: Intent.
Examine your working relationships and think about why you’re involved, and why the other party or parties are also there. If you’re working with an advisor of some sort, it’s important to establish trust early in the relationship. Without early trust, you spin your wheels for a while. If you hire an advisor, find out why they want to be your advisor. Are they in it for the money? Is it about ego? Are they trying to get to some other opportunity of their own?
The hope is they are genuinely committed to the concept of working together to help farmers. Take the time to ask them and watch the body language that accompanies the answer. Allow the silence, even if it takes a minute for them to arrive at the answer. You can learn a lot from watching the response to such a question.
We get an impression about people from what they do and say. Before you start a relationship, spend a little time getting to know the person. Pay attention to what they do and say, not just to you…but to others as well.
Is there a conflict of interest or something else that makes you feel just a little bit uncomfortable about connecting? It’s best to be direct if something like this comes up in your mind. So again, ask. Figure out what’s important to you in a trusted relationship and ask for it.
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