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Trust - The Gift That Can Unite Us All

Today, we are so happy to share our blog with Michael O’Brien of Peloton Coaching and Consulting. Michael is a business coach for leaders, and he partners with today's business leaders who want to move from functional to optimal or good to great. His aim is to change lives by enhancing leadership energy, engagement, and fulfillment and cascade it throughout organizations.  To learn more about Michael and Peloton Coaching and Consulting, visit his website:


The on-going kerfuffle happening in our nation's capital has sparked strong feelings of apprehension and angst. Too many feel like they have been soaking in a cortisol bath for years. Americans, on both sides of the aisle, are waking in the morning, shaking their heads in dismay, and worrying about what’s going to happen next. The by-products that rise out of all this anxiety are conflict, suspicion, and caution. That’s no way to unite your work team, much less the country. And it’s certainly no way to live our lives.

I wonder what would happen if we paused and reframed our opinions of what’s going on with the status quo? What if we viewed the tumult as an opportunity? A gift, if you will. But before we can accept the gift, we have to be willing to open ourselves to trusting people, again.


Trust is foundational for teams, as well as governments, businesses, and even relationships to thrive. Without it, there is no possibility for success.

But in a climate of conflict and distrust, how do you begin to build trust, especially when it comes to dealing with “the other side?”

I believe it begins with discourse, dialogue, and discussion. In a word: Conversation.

At work, in our social connections, and at home, we all crave safety; we strive for a sense of community and to feel we belong. These innate feelings are the ties that bind strong tribes and healthy relationships together.

But trust building isn’t easy.

It’s much easier to run to our opposing corners, affirm our points of view, and delegitimize different perspectives. But, the result of doing what’s easy is that we end up “shouting at” versus “talking with” one another about important ideas. At best, this approach only feeds our addiction to being right.

Rather than connecting different perspectives with empathy to solve today's complex challenges, we’ve opted to turn up the volume of our voices as a way to win arguments.

So, how’s that working out for us?

Let’s be honest here: It’s not.

I believe now is the time to build trust in both our professional and personal lives. Reach across our silos and open yourself to better, more meaningful conversations.

Here are a few ways of being that may help you create better conversations right now:

Be Listening

As a successful business leader, your Achilles heel is your incredible track record of success. You’ve been correct more often than not, so it's natural that you feel your next decision will be on target, as well. The problem with so much success is that you risk spending less time listening to other perspectives.

Listening is a cornerstone to healthy conversations. Most people “subjectively listen” or rather, they listen in an "I" centric manner. They listen to react or reply and wait just long enough for the other to stop talking to hammer home their point. As a result, trust diminishes and tribes weaken.

The best leaders actively listen to what is and isn't said. They listen to understand and give their conversations "we" centric space for better problem solving and trust building.

“The mark of a good conversationalist is not that you can talk a lot. The mark is that you can get others to talk a lot. Thus, good schmoozers are good listeners, not good talkers.” - Guy Kawasaki

Be Curious

Tap into your inner 4-year-old. You know, the adorable one that always asked why. Being curious means asking questions for which you don’t know the answer. It’s a key step toward becoming a better listener. People often ask questions that are directives in disguise. Or they ask questions for which they already know the answer. Being curious means that you are open to influence. This doesn't mean that someone else is right and you are wrong; it means that someone else could have an idea that may solve a problem.

"Be Curious, not Judgmental" - Walt Whitman

Be Agile

Today's business challenges are more complex than yesterday’s, and tomorrow's will be even more complex. Gone are the days when we can solve things all by ourselves. It now takes a strong tribe to make success happen. The best cultures and conversations are agile. That means you place your agenda to the side and open yourself to different perspectives. This clears the way to co-create solutions to today's challenges. And a co-creation culture is a thriving one.

"He who does not trust enough, will not be trusted." – Lao Tzu 

I will be honest: Trust doesn’t blossom overnight; it takes time to build. And it can be lost in an instant. So, let’s all agree to leave the drama to the politicians.

Decide to be the leader who’s open to having more trust-building conversations. Initiate them; join them, too. To truly unite your team, your company, and the country, building relationships on a foundation of trust is where it begins.

Doesn't that sound like a gift that is worth giving and receiving?


Michael is the founder of Peloton Coaching and Consulting. As a former Sales and Marketing VP, he is passionate about helping executives and entrepreneurs create better tomorrows and results.

Michael’s last bad day was July 11th, 2001. He was struck head-on by an SUV going 40 M.P.H. during a cycling training ride. His recovery helped him shift perspectives, fueled his recovery and got him back to bike racing.    

He holds certifications from The International Coach Federation, IPEC, COR.E Athlete Dynamics, Hogan Assessments, and Conversational Intelligence.

To learn more about Michael, please visit his website: or connect with him at