I listened to a radio show featuring Dr. Greg and Lisa Popcak called More2Life. The topic was trust, and how people that grew up in negative home environments with crappy parents can learn to trust and not trust the right people.

They shared a four-question test for determining someone's trustworthiness. I jotted down the questions since I saw them as a strong strategic thinking exercise.

A Strategic Thinking Exercise for Determining Trustworthiness

The questions about trustworthiness revolve around asking yourself if a specific individual demonstrates:

1. Benevolence?

The person is oriented toward your good, even at the expense of personal good and is open to correction when in the wrong

2. Ability?

The individual has the wherewithal to fulfill on the promises he/she makes

3. Integrity?

The individual actually fulfills on promises made

4. Consistency?

The person displays these characteristics over a consistent, prolonged period of time

Applying this Strategic Thinking Exercise Broadly

This is a great example of a simple strategic thinking exercise to speed and sharpen decision making.

What’s even better about these four strategic thinking questions?

They apply to many business settings. In fact, I put together a slide for a recent motor sports marketing presentation with the questions directed specifically toward judging who you can trust in motor sports (where trust is a huge deal).

We try to regularly offer these types of strategic thinking exercises both from others and from the Brainzooming R&D lab. It is smart to collect strategic thinking exercises throughout your career. Even if they come from situations quite dissimilar to your own, you can often use them to quickly work through decisions that might otherwise take too long or wind up taking you in strategically harmful directions. – Mike Brown

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