Sign up for The Wire Newsletter!

In The News

How to Know Who You Can Trust

By Sean M. Lyden - Staff Writer
Posted Aug 31st 2020 9:03AM

You’re a fleet owner about to hire a new team. Can you trust them to take good care of your equipment—and your customers?

You’re a driver looking to work for a fleet owner. Can you trust that this owner will have your back, pay you the right amount at the right time, and not blindside you with unexpected expenses?

You’re an owner-operator about to sign with a new carrier. Can you trust that the recruiter has your best interests in mind?

Whatever role you serve in the expedite industry, you have to size people up to decide whether you can do business with them.

But too often, we trust people based on our emotions at the time—such as, “I like them” or “I feel good about them”—only to be disappointed by that person later.

What if a system existed that could help us more objectively determine whether we can trust someone before we decide to do business with them, which could save us a lot of money and heartache down the road.

Apparently there is such a system. And you can find it in the book “Sizing People Up” by Robin Dreeke, the former head of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Behavior Analysis Program.

Although you’ll get a lot more details by reading the book, here’s an overview of Dreeke’s “Six Signs” for verifying trust to help you start thinking about taking a systematic approach to determining who you can trust.

Sign #1: Vesting
Does this person believe they will benefit from your success?

Quote: “When someone decides that your success is their success, they’re powerfully motivated to do whatever they can for you.”

What to look for...

  1. They talk in terms of your best interests.
  2. They talk about how they can help you fulfill your goals.
  3. They pay full attention to you while you’re talking. (If they’re distracted, looking down at their phone, or doing other types of multitasking, that’s a big red flag.)

Sign #2: Longevity
Does this person believe they will have a long relationship with you?

Quote: “When somebody thinks they’ll have a long relationship with you, they’ll usually treat you well, because they know they’ll eventually face consequences—good or bad—some of which may last for years.”

What to look for...

  1. They try to connect with you on a personal level.
  2. They ask about your long-term goals.
  3. They talk in terms of how you would fit in their future.

Sign #3: Reliability
Can this person do what they say they will do? And will they?

Quote: “Reliability is virtually synonymous with positive behavior and requires a combination of competence and diligence.”

What to look for...

  1. They’re genuinely confident because they know what they’re doing.
  2. They’re transparent about their mistakes and weaknesses.
  3. They follow through on what they say they’ll do.

Sign #4: Actions
Does this person consistently demonstrate patterns of positive behavior?

Quote: “For good or ill, it’s your actions that will define you, much more obviously and accurately than what you say or how you feel.”

What to look for...

  1. Their actions match their words and commitments.
  2. They treat people fairly and do everything they can to avoid favoritism.
  3. They are the same person in public as they are behind closed doors.

Sign #5: Language
What does this person’s communications reveal?

Quote: “Because the whole aim and end of language is to tell someone something, language itself is one long tell—and thereby the most transparent and easily accessible of the six signs.”

What to look for...

  1. They’re easy to understand.
  2. They talk more about you than themselves.
  3. They make you feel comfortable when they talk.

Sign #6: Stability
Does this person consistently demonstrate emotional maturity, self-awareness, and social skills?

Quote: “A lack of emotional stability is arguably the most devastating deficit in all of the six signs—because if somebody strays into emotional self-destruction just long enough to stop pursuing their own best interests, they’re suddenly a loose cannon, and will be far harder to predict.”

What to look for...

  1. They’re consistently calm, especially under fire.
  2. They take responsibility and don’t throw other people under the bus.
  3. They offer you options, not orders.

The Bottom Line
When it comes to trusting people, we often follow the advice of “listen to your gut,” which, as Dreeke says, can cloud our judgment.

Instead, do this: Trust, but verify. Assume you can trust the person, but check your gut with the “Six Signs.”