Picture of 3 check marks in an ascending diagonal line

I made the statement ‘I Have Trust Issues’ in semi jest replying to an inquiry as to why The Collier Companies always self manages its real estate communities, however it speaks to deeper concerns re leadership, achieving excellence, maintaining quality, and the basic fundamentals of Project Management 101.

I have always been amazed about how many folks will blissfully assume something has been done or completed simply because it was supposed to have been done, without verifying, checking or otherwise sufficiently confirming. The degree of evidence one should seek may vary upon the seriousness of the issues, past experience, and the degree of earned confidence in those that one is relying upon.

The point is emphatically illustrated in an excerpt from an excellent novel, ‘Once an Eagle’ (see footnote), dealing with a chaotic push in France during WWI when Sargent Damon pulls together a rag tag squad of soldiers from scattered units to pull off an ambush that proved instrumental in saving the lives of many Americans. Observing a column of Germans advancing toward his hidden position, Damon thinks to himself:

“Damn fools. They should have sent out a patrol or two. No—someone had reported in: We hold Brigny Farm, and so of course they’d never thought to question it. Thank God they had incompetents on their side, too.”

As a young man reading those words, I took them to heart and resolved always to be willing to go the extra mile to properly verify critical conditions that vital things depended on.

To be clear, trust as I am using it here has at least two components: it can refer to character OR to competence and I’m using it in reference to competence. Someone may have the highest integrity but lack the requisite skill set. Perhaps it would be better to say you lack confidence rather than trust. However, I’m choosing to use trust in here because it is frequently used in this context.

Closing Quotes:

“Don’t trust, just verify.” – Steven Levitt, co-author ‘Freakonomics’

“Reliability is the precondition for trust.” – Wolfgang Schauble, 1942-2023

“The reliability of the people giving you the facts is as important as the facts themselves.” – Harold Geneen, 1910-1997, CEO of ITT: 1959 to 1977, author ‘Managing’

“Ability is a wonderful thing, but its value is greatly enhanced by dependability. Ability implies repeatability and accountability.” – Robert A. Heinlein, 1907-1988, ‘Starship Troopers’, ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’, ‘The Moon is a Harsh Mistress’

Footnote: From Wikipedia
A No. 1 New York Times Bestseller, Once an Eagle by Anton Myrer has been a favorite of American military men and women since its writing.[1] The book appears on the Commandant‘s required reading list for all Staff Sergeants and Gunnery Sergeants[2] in the United States Marine Corps, and frequently serves as a text for cadets in leadership classes at West Point.

As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier