1: It was the late 1980’s.  Times were tough in Texas.  The price of oil had fallen more than 50 percent.  Banks were failing.  The economy was in a tailspin.  Oilman and former Texas Governor John Connolly wept on national news as his possessions were auctioned off to pay debtors.  

Dallas-based TD Industries was also struggling.  The firm specialized in installing large-scale commercial and industrial HVAC and plumbing systems.  Their challenge?  As the Texas economy weakened, construction stopped.  Very few office building and facilities were being built.

The firm was desperate for some good news.  

One day it came.   CEO Jack Lowe, Jr. learned TD Industries was being considered to be included in The 100 Best Companies to Work for in America, a book being written by Robert Levering, Milton Moskowitz, and Michael Katz.  TD had been an early adopter of servant-leadership and the firm had created a strong workforce culture.  

2: The researchers traveled to Dallas to spend the day at the company to interview employees and various work teams. 

It was the end of the day.  The final meeting was with TD’s leadership team.

After a bit of small talk, one of the researchers turned to Jack, “We’ve spent the day talking with your Partners (TD’s word for employees), and it’s clear there is a lot of trust.  Why do you think that is?”

Recalling the story years later, Jack remembered he started rambling, hunting for the right words to say.  He wanted to answer the question “right” so the firm would be chosen for the book.  

Words, words, more words.    

“Jack, I think I know why people trust us,” one of the other leaders said.

Relieved, Jack paused.  “Thank you, Ben.  Yes.  Please.  Tell us.”

“Because we are trustworthy.”  

Mic drop.

TD Industries was selected as one of the companies featured in the book, The 100 Best Companies to Work.  The company would go on to earn a spot on Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list, the successor to the book, for 21 consecutive years with seven top-10 finishes, ranking as high as #2.

“Be Trustworthy” is one of our five client promises at PCI.  Trust is at the heart of all great relationships and all great companies.  “Trust is the one thing that changes everything,” writes Stephen M.R. Covey in his wonderful book The Speed of Trust.  

3: We all want high trust relationships.  Which begin by being trustworthy.


Reflection:  Think about a low trust relationship in my life.  How does that feel?  Be specific.  Think about a high trust relationship in my life.  How does that feel?  Be specific.

Action:  Be trustworthy.

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