A player from one of the four remaining NFL teams with a chance to reach the Super Bowl this year was asked what has helped his team to reach this level in such a challenging COVID-19-filled season. The player responded by mentioning several things, but his most telling statement was, “Trust. We fully trust each other. Players, coaches — everyone. Our trust has just grown stronger as the season has progressed.”

Seeing that response certainly pleased me. One of the thoughts in my Winning Thoughts book is “Do I trust you? Do you trust me? Mutual trust leads to victory!” I don’t know how many times I’ve emphasized this with sports teams, businesses, education groups, churches and other organizations. When leaders can truly trust their people, and the people can truly trust one another and their leaders, great things can happen.

Realizing the importance of trust, I was extremely interested in a Jan. 13, 2021, CBS news story titled “Americans trust CEOs more than their own government, survey finds.” Journalist Elizabeth Elkind got her information from an organization named Edelman Trust Barometer. I never knew such an organization existed, but this group has posted some informative and not surprising numbers.

According to the group’s CEO Richard Edelman, they interviewed 33,000 people in 28 countries, which resulted in Edelman saying, “We have an infodemic, and in short, we don’t trust the sources of information, meaning we don’t trust the media, which is seen as politicized, biased, and we don’t trust the people who are speaking.” He explained that “infodemic” means an epidemic of misinformation.

As he said the infodemic has driven trust in news to an all-time low, it made me think of how much more important it is now to build mutual trust within our families, businesses, and other groups in which we are involved. Edelman said 57% of Americans feel we’re in the midst of a “cold civil war,” which helps to explain why so many people are frustrated, confused and unmotivated — and need more local solidarity.

Social media have a 35% trust-rate; owned media (channels/outlets that an entity has complete control over, including websites, blogs, email newsletters and forums) have a 41% trust-rate, and traditional media have a 53% trust-rate according to the Edelman report. The more local the media, the more it is trusted, which parallels Edelman’s report that local businesses are trusted more than national businesses.

Edelman said, “Trust has actually gone local. Business is the most trusted institution.” He went on to say that people trust “my employer” and “my CEO” and information from “my employer” more than any media. Over three-quarters of respondents worldwide, and 72% in the U.S., said they trusted their employer “to do what is right.”

With Edelman reporting that trust in the national government is hovering around 38-40%, togetherness in all local entities is more vital than ever. “Shop local” goes beyond being a statement to encourage citizens to support local businesses; it also means people have more confidence in local businesses and feel they will be treated with greater concern and fairness.

I agree with the NFL player: “Trust. We fully trust each other. Players, coaches — everyone. Our trust has just grown stronger as the season has progressed.”

Something I have shared often in my speaking and writing is very relevant now: “There is nothing as powerful and contagious as positive, uplifting enthusiasm that is handled wisely by a group of people who respect one another and contribute their individual talents and abilities, coming together as one united force to reach one common cause, goal or dream!”

Carl Mays, National Speakers Hall of Fame member and author of over a dozen books, including A Strategy For Winning (foreword by Coach Lou Holtz). Email: carlmays@carlmays.com