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“Trust is the glue of life… It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”

– Stephen Covey

The glue of life. I like that.

We believe that trust is the foundation of healthy relationships. To be among a group of people where you can trust and be trusted is a place of encouragement, a refuge, indeed a sanctuary. Trust implies a safe place, not an easy one. In trust there is room for disagreement and conflict. We are free to fully enter in with our thoughts, observations, perspectives, and opinions because we know we can trust one another.

Trust stands out as a beacon in a culture where the genuine exchange of ideas and appreciation of essential human dignity are too often missing.  Trust is the light on a rocky outcropping that says, “you are welcome here.”

Without trust, you cannot have a healthy and vulnerable exchange of ideas. Without trust, the loudest voice in the room often wins. Without trust, full commitment is absent. Productivity suffers. Results decline.

Trust is rooted in understanding, not assumption. Humility, not position. Servanthood, not authority.

But let’s not forget, trust is fragile. And because it is so, we can become reluctant to extend trust. Past hurts, broken promises, and betrayals are all part of the human experience.  Yet our alternative is to move through life without ever experiencing the great rewards of trustworthy relationships.

Trust opens the door to the richness of human experience and organizational accomplishment.  Properly stewarded trust becomes remarkably durable, opening the door to an engaging future of possibility!

Hope is the vision for a better future. It is central to a belief that our families and businesses can be healthier, that our lives can be more fulfilled, that there is a more engaging and satisfying future than anything we have experienced to date. After all, hope is the essential ingredient that drives our annual cavalcade of New Year’s resolutions detailing how we will be better versions of ourselves in the next year.

At North Group, one of our core values is Instilling Hope. We must have hope. Otherwise, the future can seem tedious at best, or despondently bleak at worst. Hope is a big piece in the puzzle of a new launch of a product, business, or initiative. While hope may be a keystone piece in the puzzle for an imagined and attainable future, it is only a piece.

Hope is a future. Hope shapes vision. Hope is NOT a strategy.

Have you ever sat around a table with your team or family, ready to launch into a new direction where the moment of decision is followed by the nagging question, “will this work?” and the answer is “I hope so?” That question is much easier to process when you have done your homework and asked some tough questions. Maybe you’ve even solicited the opinion of an individual that can always see where an idea is vulnerable. Yes, those folks can be annoying, but they are also a gift.

Too many nonprofits and more than a few businesses create a preferred future and launch, only to find out their strategy was “I sure hope this works” without having done the work of serious assessment. Seeking third party, objective opinions on major decisions is not a weakness; it is a strength. It often has nothing to do with the ability of leadership teams. Even the strongest organizations can benefit by considering the views of objective and trusted advisors. These perspectives often help inform the path forward.

Be hopeful for the future, but if hope is ultimately your strategy, you may want to consider a more-informed approach.