A Lesson About Trust From the Pasture

by Joy Lanzaro

The other day, I overestimated just how much my 3/4s Arabian mare, Sasha, trusted me. As her cooperation is reliable only under a specific set of conditions for which she’s been prepared and tested, my job is to continually earn Sasha’s trust over an ever-widening range of conditions. That day, I attempted to take off her blanket in a field without using a halter. She warned me that she was processing the choice between trusting me and self-preservation. When she tensed her muscles and focused her eyes and ears in the direction of the far corner of the field, I should have known she was about to bolt. Thankfully, she wasn’t hurt, but it could have been a costly disaster if the blanket fell around her legs while she was running. The moral of the story is this: Even if you have a trusting relationship under certain circumstances, you still need to look for signs that you’re overdrawing on that trust account.

Every time a service professional breaks from expectations, the customer is confronted with a choice between trust and self-preservation. While missed appointments and failure to call might seem trivial in the grand scheme of things, these breaches in social contracts confront customers in a significant way. Once compromised, the cost of restoring trust can exceed time and materials, and may be the difference between profit and loss.