This post is part of our Monthly-ish Tips series.

Are you (still) minding your P’s

This is the 269th tip I have written, and I realized the other day that there’s one critical construct I haven’t focused on since Tip #15—and even then, I didn’t cover it very thoroughly. It’s time to circle back.

The construct I’m referring to is a mnemonic device I created when Charlie and I were writing The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook. I call it the Three Ps. I’ve since come to see how important the Three Ps are because they shape our thinking about trust, and mindsets are everything when it comes to trust building.

Here’s a little more on each P to jog your memory and/or enhance your appreciation:

  1. Trust is personal. At its deepest layer, trust is a phenomenon that occurs human being to human being. Sure, you can trust a company, but when you do, you are usually focusing on just one part of trust—dependability. It makes perfect sense to say a company or organization is reliable. It does not make much sense to say that a corporate entity cares about you or is sensitive to your needs because those are things we usually say about people. At root, trust is personal. And the distinguishing and compelling aspects of it are the more psychological/emotional dimensions.
  1. Trust is paradoxical. What I mean by that is that trust appears to defy logic. The trust-creating thing to do is often the opposite of what your baser (fear-based) instincts tell you to do. The thing we are the most afraid to say is often what will build the most trust. The best way to sell, it turns out, is to stop trying to sell. The best way to influence is to first be open to their influence. Smart people miss opportunities daily to embrace the paradoxical nature of trust simply from a tendency to treat it as a rational/logical phenomenon.
  1. Trust is positively correlated to risk. The more risk you take (and by that, I mean personal risk), the more trust you build; conversely, the less risk you take the less trust you build. That’s because the essence of trust contains risk. A trust relationship cannot exist without someone taking a chance—and it is your job to lead the way. If you think to yourself, ‘I can’t take that kind of risk yet because there’s not enough trust in the relationship,’ check your thinking and change your actions. You create trust in a relationship by taking risks.

Whether you’re embarking on a new relationship or nurturing an existing one, it’s imperative to mind your Ps.

Make It Real

This week, reflect on a relationship where it could be significantly improved. How might you minding your Ps make it better?

Learn More


Read about the paradox of selling, from our friends at Trusted Advisor Associates, or brush up on other truisms about trust in Chapter 1 of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook.


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Andrea Howe

As the founder of The Get Real Project, I am the steward of our vision and our service offerings, as well as a workshop leader and keynote speaker. Above all else, I am an entrepreneur on a mission: to kick conventional business wisdom to the curb and transform how people work together as a result. I am also the co-author, with Charles H. Green, of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook (Wiley, 2012).