How long does it take to build trust? Reduce trust?

Warren Buffett once said, “It takes 20 years to build trust and 5 minutes to lose it.” Yesterday, we witnessed this (again).

Building Trust: Thom Brennaman is the broadcaster for the Cincinnati Reds. Thom has been the broadcaster for the Reds since 1986. Thom’s dad, Marty, (who my grandmother adored) was the broadcaster for the Reds from 1974-2019. That’s about 34 years for Thom and 45 years for his dad in the business with this organization.

Reducing Trust: Yesterday, while providing commentary for the first game of a home doubleheader between the Reds and the Kansas City Royals, Brenneman was caught on mic referring to an undisclosed location as “one of the fag capitals of the world.” While this video is 44 seconds, the actual comment took less than 5 seconds.

5 innings later, Brennaman apologized, was taken off air during the game and the Reds suspended him immediately.

Ryan’s sidenote: It is unbelievable during the video that immediately after he says, “I pride myself and think of myself as being a man of faith” the guy hits a home run. You can’t make this stuff up.

Lessons learned: If you’re building a coaching culture on your team and in your organization, here are three lessons learned.

#1. Man, 2020. 2020 has been the most bizarre year where anything might happen so don’t assume you know what someone else is going to say or do. Now is the time to start asking more questions and making less assumptions.

#2. It’s 2020. Either assume you are “mic’d up” all the time or if you can’t make that assumption, don’t say something offensive. Thom Brennaman is going to be judged on this 5 seconds of his career vs. 34 years.

#3. Warren Buffett’s concept is correct, but in this case (like others) it only took seconds not minutes. What are you doing to build trust on your team? What are you doing that reduces trust on your team?

Finally, here’s a leadership thought-starter for you: If you were Thom’s boss, what would you do? I look forward to your replies.

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