Infinite Potential

Trust, Risk and Intent

April 22nd, 2016

There are several fundamental elements in having influence in your world. In this blog post, I will be discussing three in particular.
People often wonder why they fail at their attempts to be an influence. It can be frustrating when you want to influence others in a way that improves things and then discover it has “blown up in your face”. This kind of setback is disheartening and has a demoralizing effect on your hopes that you can promote positive change.

Often, this type of disappointment is rooted in not having taken fundamental elements of change into account when you have taken action.
The three key fundamentals that I will be discussing are Trust, Risk and Intent.


Trust is a fundamental factor on whether an action will be viewed as positive or negative, regardless of how objectively good the action appears. In a low trust relationship or culture, action can be suspect because of an underlying mistrust. If trust has been compromised in a specific relationship, it also has a dampening effect in the power of an action. Have you fully taken into account the level of trust with an individual or within the organization? If this is an over site on your part, then the action you are taking might not be received in the spirit it is intended.

Assess and take into account the trust factor in anything you do. It may help you calibrate your action in the context of the current level of trust OR it will alert you to the need to work on and build trust before you initiate change.

Consider where you need to build trust in order to have more influence. Are there bridges that you have burned that need mending? Leaving these burned bridges and ignoring them will NOT make them just go away. Often, ignoring a suffering relationship will lead to grudges that can be held for years and can affect your influence indefinitely. For more on trust see Covey’s work: <Speed of Trust>


Taking risks can be scary and you are not alone if you struggle in this area. The competency of courage is at the heart of this struggle. <Lominger> If you are risk averse, then you are not leveraging your influence to its full potential. People with Organizational Savvy <Lominger> don’t risk blindly, they calculate their risk based on their trust assessment and other situational factors. This kind of calculation is not a bad thing, especially if it is fundamentally in service of others. Remember, effective organizational risks are risks that you take for others.


There are two factors that influence how your intent is perceived.

      The Relational Factor

People can sense the sincerity a person has, and that sense is what people respond to. There is a relational component to how intent is perceived. This helps us see one of the deepest aspects of our influence. Way of Being is often used to capture this quality. Here, we are talking about being fully present to others and open to their perspective, viewpoint and thoughts.

     The “Heart” Factor

Closely related to the Relational Factor, your intent has a huge impact on your influence. If your intent is only for your own benefit, people can often sense that and it tends to provoke resistance. If your intent is in alignment with others, they can become aligned stakeholders in whatever change is being considered. Think about how sincere your intent is, and how much you have partnered with others will affect your success.

Questions to solve for:

What is the level of trust in the key relationships where you am trying to have influence? How can you influence trust?

What is the level of trust in the culture you live in? What can you change that culture?

Are you willing to take calculated risk? How can you become more courageous?

How sincere is your intent? What do you need to do to be pure in your intent and live that purity in relation to others?

How pure are your motives? What do you need to be credible and trustworthy to others?

Have you sufficiently enrolled key stakeholders so there is alignment in the organization (or family) toward the change you am seeking?

Working on these elements and solving for these things with an experienced, well trained, and certified coach can help you become a powerful change agent for good in your life.


Comment on this post.

Where have you seen influence succeed? Why?

Where have you seen influence fail? Why?

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The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything [Paperback]
Stephen M.R. Covey (Author),

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FYI: For Your Improvement – For Learners, Managers, Mentors, and Feedback Givers
Michael M. Lombardo