The 10 Laws of Trust

Building the Bonds That Make a Business Great

The 10 Laws of Trust

Author: Joel Peterson
Pub Date: May 2016
Print Edition: $15.95
Print ISBN: 9780814437452
Page Count: 128
Format: Hardback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814437469

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Steps for Recovering from a Breakdown in Trust—or a Betrayal

Whether tackling a project, building a business, or a creating a family, collaborating with trustworthy people makes life rewarding. Reinforced by good experiences, our bias is to trust. Still, breaches of trust are inevitable. Even the good-hearted and best-intentioned may fail to deliver, whether due to external pressures, poor judgment, or lack of authority. Then, there are those who manipulate others’ trust to their own advantage.

Joel Peterson, chairman of JetBlue, professor, business leader, father of seven, and spouse of forty-four years, is a firm believer in the value of trust and a testament to its power. He’s also no stranger to betrayal. In his new book, THE 10 LAWS OF TRUST (AMACOM; May 10, 2016), Peterson shares steps for restoring a relationship after trust has been breached or betrayed:

Accept some responsibility. While the blame lies with the betrayer, the betrayed almost always plays a role in being duped. As painful as this realization is, it can be the first step to recovery.

Recognize you’re not alone. Think of all the people who trusted Bernie Madoff. Think of all the people who trusted Lance Armstrong. Many others have been duped or manipulated into trusting the untrustworthy. So, don’t feel ashamed.

Consider the seriousness of the breach. Any chance of restoring trust in a relationship begins with diagnosing the severity of the damage. Repairing a once-healthy relationships may simply be a matter of clearing up misunderstandings. Or it may be as daunting as restoring full mobility after a severed spinal cord.

Fix quickly what can be fixed. When a betrayal can be explained as a one-off stumble, perhaps with mitigating factors, it may well be worth giving the betrayer another chance. If the betrayal cuts deeper, the relationship may still be worth the effort to fix if the stakes are high—like a marriage when children are involved.

Be realistic about the potential. The process for restoring broken trust is different from building it. Recovering from betrayal is harder, more costly—and, worst of all, less likely to succeed—that securing trust at the outset.

Forgive. “Vengeance is rarely sweet,” Peterson asserts. Rather than focus on revenge, he advocates mourning the loss—and then reflecting on what went wrong. Were the flaws structural (bad hiring, bad oversight) or personal (inattention to the core components of trust—character, competency, authority—or just plain naïveté)? Correct those flaws and forgive—yourself and the betrayer.

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