A blog by Joel Barolsky of Barolsky Advisors

  1. Joel,

    Like the last paragraph. Irrespective of whether anyone agrees or not, I like the challenge and alternative POV.

  2. Joel, no need to apologise for “tearing Maister apart” as that is NOT what you have done. You have simply updated him to 2013. My experience with client feedback is that the number one complaint is that their lawyer does not understand their business, so you are spot on there of course. I also liked value and affinity being included. My only diversion from your equation is the deletion of self-orientation which is, I believe, the definition I apply to the term. My view is that this refers to the law firm’s self-orientation such that we stop pitching to clients on the basis of “us”, the firm, but do so on the basis of “them” the client. A subtle difference and one that I have probably defined for my own purposes of changing the pitch approach of many firms. Overall, I like the update so stop apologising as all you have done is make Maister’s approach relevant to 2013.

  3. Innovation is an interesting extension. I think this depends on what you intend the use of the Trust Equation to be. If its just to define trust, then the original equation stands. If its to measure how a relationship is evolving, then maybe John Malouf’s 4 dimensions in ref ot personal relationships of Caring, Secure, Exciting, Difficult are more useful.
    You still need the denominator of self-orientation as this will always be a factor, even if measurably small.
    ‘Understanding’ is part of Credibility – you can’t be credible if you don’t understand your customer!


    • Hi Tim,

      Thanks so much for your considered comments.

      On reflection I have changed my equation a little: Trusted B2B relationships = (Understanding x Reliability x Value x Affinity) / Complacency.

      I have removed Innovation given that strong long-term relationships don’t necessarily need and some clients don’t value innovation. However, relationships where the parties are bored of each other and/or the supplier takes the client for granted are doomed. Hence, Complacency.

      I agree that self-orientation will always be a factor. I just think this will get reflected in other variables, such as (fair) value, understanding, affinity and complacency.

      The equation is about B2B relationships embracing both personal and commercial elements. The Malouf dimensions are a great subset of (personal) Affinity in my view. Similarly, Understanding is about insight into the client’s business, their culture, their strategy and their problems. It’s way beyond credibility.

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