People view the world through two different types of glasses that various factors throughout their lives have helped to shape. Covey and Link identify these glasses as blind trust glasses or distrust glasses and offer a third alternative: smart trust glasses.
Looking through blind trust glasses creates a naïve, gullible, blissful trust in almost everyone and everything. These glasses are easy to wear because they do not require much effort or thought. People want things to go well, so they ignore the evidence. Unfortunately, blind trust glasses open the door for all manner of fraud and schemes. Blind trust is risky, and it typically does not represent the smartest way to operate in a low-trust world.
Glasses of distrust are often people’s choice after they get burned by a blind trust experience. In a low-trust world, glasses of distrust seem like a natural response. They can feel safer, less risky, and give the feeling of more control. While most people realize the cost of trusting too much, they do not stop to consider the cost of distrust. The authors call this a “wasted tax” that can result in unwanted outcomes like redundancy, bureaucracy, turnover, churn, and fraud.
Distrustful behavior often brings huge taxes. The authors relate the story of a business that sold sunglasses. To try and halt inventory shrinkage, which the owner figured was caused by customer or employee theft (or both), he instituted a tie-down system on every frame so that the glasses could not be pulled off the shelves. He reduced the shrinkage problem from two percent to 0.2 percent. Unfortunately, because customers could not try on the glasses, sales decreased by 50 percent. Distrust not only affects relationships with customers, it also affects prosperity, energy, and joy within and between companies.
Neither blind trust nor distrust is sustainable for a lengthy period. Those who trust blindly eventually get burned and those who live with distrust eventually experience financial, social, and emotional losses.