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The Hierarchy of Trust

By Joey Havens

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Last week, I shared about our loss of “Happy,” CeCe’s mom. The funeral service and celebration of her life was in Natchez, MS, her home for the first 78 years. We traveled the two hours on a Friday afternoon and checked into Dunleith Historic Inn, where we stayed for the Saturday morning services. As CeCe and I checked in, I also booked a room for Father Albeen, who was traveling down from Jackson to conduct the funeral services for Happy.

The family was gathering at another house close to downtown for dinner and an evening of sharing stories about Happy. We had been at the family event for about two hours when I noticed I had three calls from the same Natchez number. I also had notices for three voicemails. I excused myself and stepped outside to listen to my voicemail.

The Dunleith night clerk was first letting me know the priest had arrived and please call me at my earliest convenience. The second message was from the same clerk and another request that I please contact them as soon as I could. The third voicemail was a little more direct.

Mr. Havens, please give me a call. Your credit card was declined and I did not want to tell the priest this, so I registered him in his room anyway. Please provide another card for payment.

I could not stop laughing as I called the clerk back.

I thanked him for taking care of the priest and assured him I would provide another credit card as soon as I returned to the property.

Reflecting on this, I realized the Inn’s policy was undoubtedly to have payment before providing access to a room. Since it was a priest checking in, the clerk had gone at personal risk and provided the room without payment. I’m guessing that if the room had been for CeCe or a friend, they would not have gotten access until I provided a valid credit card.

What is our leadership lesson? For me, it was gratitude for the clerk to have the courage to provide the room to Father Albeen, knowing he was breaking company policy. I also believe that when we have high credibility and integrity like Father Albeen, it opens doors and provides the opportunity for people to be vulnerable and trust us. This trust is so powerful that it was transferred from Father Albeen to me, whom the clerk did not know at all other than I had given him a bad credit card for a priest’s room. When we are trustworthy, we can influence others to trust people that we trust. High trust always leads to higher performance and our full potential.

CeCe, have you been using the MasterCard for any unusual purchases lately?

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