The foundation of every business transaction is trust. I hire a contractor because I trust they will do a quality job, even when the work is below ground or behind a wall, and I cannot see it. We trust a bank to take care of our money. We believe an insurance company will honor our legitimate claims. When we open a package, we take it for granted that the food inside was prepared safely. When trust diminishes, more accountability is required to complete a business transaction, and the price increases.
During my 65 years of life, it seems as if a large quantity of trust has eroded from our culture. I do not know who or what to blame; is it the 24-hour news cycle, social media, or just the diminished character of our people? I would love to hear your views on the topic.
The precious commodity of trust was formerly one of the great benefits of living in the country versus the city; one knew their neighbors, acted in ways that benefited the community, and the consequences for violating trust were instant. In the city, an element of mistrust shadows every interaction because of the lack of familiarity; however, apparently, “familiarity does breed contempt.”
A tidal wave of mistrust has hit rural America, and we are paying the price. In the last twelve years, I have spoken to several people who moved to the country out of urban settings to find peace, community, and the trust that big cities naturally lack, and they have been sorely disappointed. Many people have headed back to the asphalt jungle.
I can draw only one conclusion: rural America is paying a much larger price for this negative megatrend than our cities. Americans are losing their faith and trust in the traditional values of small-town America. Without trust in Bourbon County, one just as well conduct business in the big city where less is expected.
We cannot change this megatrend, but we can change ourselves. How do we re-establish trust? The answers are basic and traditional:
- Be a person of your word.
- When you make a mistake, apologize.
- When a person errs and tries to correct it, forgive.
- If you are offended, go to that person, not the phone or social media.
- Be proactive in looking for ways to build community.
- Expect less from others and more from yourself.
- When you conduct a business transaction, give excellent value.
Economic development depends on the precious commodity of trust. At the heart of Bourbon County REDI is the drive to build trust in all areas of the Bourbon County geography, the business community, and the public sector. Without trust, we will not succeed. We believe that together, we can make a difference.