I found this interesting post on the signal v noise blog about trust. They had to choose a designer for a project they were working on, and it turns out the deciding factor among three talented designers was trust. Not price. Not physical location of the designer. Trust.
I think this is an interesting sign of the times. It used to be that when you needed a service, you searched for the “best.” You created an RFP and read the responses and the one that combined the best technical expertise with the best price won.
These days, however, everyone is lowering their prices, yet everyone has increased their expertise. It is too easy to quickly find many service providers who are all good enough and cheap enough for what you need. But if you can trust someone or feel they are easy to work with, that can make a difference.
The same is true inside organizations. You probably have all the talent you need and you have access to all the information or expertise you could ever want. Factors like trust, relationships, communication—that tends to be what sets us apart these days.