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Trust and Confirm

One of my very first lesson of managerial journey was "Trust But Verify"! Being a trusting person this phrase initially threw me off, well if I have trust why do I need to verify. It never came very naturally to me because I always thought I am breaking that trust by verifying it.



However, in life more than often we get in to situations where we are challenged because we put blind trust on people. So arises a need to confirm that our expectations are being met, not because there is lack of trust but because there might be lack of understanding or capability.When we confirm that our expectations are being met, we reduce the chance of being disappointed in the result.


As a result I started to think how can we give a positive spin to this phrase "Trust But Verify". I found that my problem lies in the word "but" because it behaves like a eraser word. Per Dwayne Phillips in his The Magic Eraser – The Word “But” - the word “but” erases all that has been said previously.


For ex. "You have a lot of enthusiasm, but you need to check with me on things like this". As a result the person’s enthusiasm is erased, gone, doesn’t matter here. What matters is that the person checks with ME on this.


Inspired by Bob Whipple - author of books on leadership and trust, lets replace the exclusive conjunction "but" with the more inclusive conjunction "and" and "verify" with more positive word "confirm". So we "Trust and Confirm".


When something is to be confirmed, it is usually already believed to be true. Confirm means that the truth is there and you double check. Verify means that you doubt something is 100% true, so you double check.


The words we choose make a difference in how people interpret meaning. You will have a better result when you use "Trust and Confirm instead of "Trust but Verify" as the later leaves the concept of trust more intact. Teams that have a culture of high trust, focus on the things they are trying to accomplish, are forward thinking and spend the bulk of energy pursuing the vision.

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