Making an intentional effort to rebuild trust when it has been damaged, is not necessarily all that easy, but can have significant and positive results.
For the past five years, our eldest son Matthew has been doing the hard yards pursuing an acting career. To be able to turn up to auditions (typically he’s given one day’s notice if he’s lucky of when the casting agency wants to see him), it requires him to have a lot of flexibility in his everyday work life and considerable flexibility and understanding by his managers.
Matt juggles 3 jobs at the moment trying to make ends meet. He works part time at a pub, part time as a bike tour guide around the sites of Sydney’s harbour and part time with a company that provides ‘character’ actors at shopping centres and public events.
Last week the juggling act crashed. While attending an audition, Matt was on a tight schedule before he had to attend a shopping centre as one of the character actors. The audition was running behind time and although Matt let the receptionist know that he was on a tight schedule with another commitment, there were still 3 others who were up for the audition waiting to be called in before Matt was going to be called in.
Matt waited 30 more minutes beyond the time his audition had been scheduled for him by his Agent, and he was still third in line, so he made the decision to leave to be able to at least meet his commitment with the shopping centre role (who had phoned him while he was at the Casting Agency, to confirm again that he was going to make it on time). He let the reception person know of his decision and left.
Well the Casting Agency wasn’t pleased with Matt’s decision (they had requested specifically to see him for this role) and called his Agent to let them know they weren’t impressed.
So now Matt had a Casting Agency as well as his own Agent upset with him.
To try and rebuild the trust that he had put at risk between him and his own Agent, he decided to go to the Casting Agency with a gift and to say sorry for not being able to wait for his audition.
The Casting Agency were themselves apologetic for running late, and told Matt that they were certainly impressed that he felt so strongly about his other commitments and could understand the juggling of priorities.
His own Agent was impressed with the outcome, so fingers crossed, trust is rebuilt, and more auditions will come his way.
Juggling Priorities and Rebuilding Trust
Most of us will at some stage experience a similar type of priority juggling act just like Matt, where we will have competing priorities with competing expectations of people who will be relying on us in some way.
In hindsight, Matt could have been more intentionally proactive about managing the expectations of the people involved… his own Agent, the Casting Agency and the Events Company.
The point however is for each of us to be very mindful about who we impact when we prioritise our promises and our actions. While its easy to say only promise what you can deliver and deliver on your promises, the realities of life sometimes cause us to juggle reactively.
However, it always falls back on our intentions. And while intentions are not necessarily enough to always mend trust at risk or trust that has been fractured, having the courage and intention to proactively fix things when they need fixing, admitting when you’ve got it wrong, or at the very least, explaining why things did not live up to your intended or even unintended promises, will always be required.