Justin Ricklefs


The Residue of Trust

Our kids were young enough to still want to hang out with us in public.

So there we stood.

In a carnival line, patiently waiting our turn to climb aboard the twisty, turny, in and out swing thing that not more than 24 hours previously was being hauled across a highway somewhere.

Our five kids were taking their turns grabbing handfuls of popcorn from the same bucket, and ripping off pieces of cotton candy.

It was festival season at its finest.

Until it wasn’t.

Unfortunately for one of the riders of said spinny ride above, he or she’s stomach revolted, and from the peak of the ride, let out the contents of said stomach.

And unfortunately for us, like a spray of paintball bullets, said contents mercilessly ripped across all seven of us, sparing no hair, face, popcorn bucket, or t-shirt.


Dealing with 5 kids throughout the years, and plenty of animals, you develop a bit of immunity to vomit that originates from someone who shares your last name.

But a complete stranger? In the heat of the night? Unexpectedly tossing chunks quite literally onto you and your family?

If there’s a worse smell in the world, I’ve yet to find it.

My good friend and Guild Content board member, Cory Scheer, teaches on the Structure of Trust. As he was walking our team through a session at our recent Retreat, he told a great story about a brand he loves, respects, and trusts, but in a recent experience, their tables were sticky.

Like elbows sticking awkwardly to the wooden tops kind of sticky.

It didn’t dissuade him from frequenting that establishment in the future, but as he put it, it did leave a residue.

And not a great one.

Maybe not quite the residue our family had several years ago, but a residue nonetheless.

Every interaction your company has with its customers, a residue lingers.

Every time you answer the phone, return an email, craft a text, you leave a residue.

Your website copy, your social media posts, and your email campaigns may feel like digital touchpoints but they have a physical residue that outlasts whatever click takes place.

There’s plenty of vomit-inducing and sticky situations out there for leaders and marketers to navigate.

Instead of filling the world with more unfortunate residue experiences, let’s be the kind that leaves a residue of trust through, as Cory teaches, problem-solving, competence, and benevolence.

That kind of stickiness is one the world keeps coming back for, again and again.

Get your popcorn.

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