Trust is the most important ingredient in a successful family business. It is trust, not love, that allows individual family members to work together. It is the presence of trust that allows non-family employees to work successfully in a family business. It is the absence of trust that underlies the suspicion and resentment of family members not involved in the business toward those family members who are involved.
Trust can be lost easily and regained only slowly. Trust is that set of behaviors that states that the welfare of all is being served not just of one. Family businesses that are most successful achieve a culture of trust which requires that individuals are trustworthy.
Trust is achieved by following these rules:
1. Keep promises.
2. Frequent communication.
3. Honest communication.
4. Remaining calm when others are not.
5. Maintaining a transparent work environment.
6. Act swiftly and correctly when something goes wrong.
7. Accepting responsibility when something goes wrong.
There may be other rules of the trust game. These are the ones I've observed over the years as essential to establishing and maintaining trust.