One idea leads to another. Quickly the project takes shape. It’s all quite unexpected and the end result is way beyond the initial starting point. Why? Because the individuals involved trust each other absolutely, not so much about money though that is important, but about sharing the risks of vulnerability and relying on the other’s support. And, by the way, they have never met face-to-face.
The parties cautiously suggest minor changes, protecting their position at all times, giving little away, trying various gambits, manipulating the numbers, always on their guard. The end result is an improvement on the starting point, but only just. And it’s slow. Being face-to-face doesn’t seem to help much.
In a workshop on “information overload”, participants seem to like the idea of deciding whether individual relationships are trusting or not, and dealing with them one way or another if they aren’t, because relationships without trust consume energy and generate excess information to be handled.
There’s no rocket science here, but I’ve been struck by what a huge difference absolute trust makes in a working relationship – not so much a factor of 2 as a factor of 10.
Trust is one of these “be the change you want to see” things. If we want other people to be trustworthy, we need to be that way ourselves. We need to be on the high ground. No use trying to get other people to trust us, if we’re not trustworthy ourselves. (I’ve heard people say they don’t trust such-and-such a person, having just revealed how they’ve manipulated their own numbers. Funny that.)
But what about when it seems unclear?
Can you have degrees of trust? Can you half trust someone (or a business)? Or a quarter, or three-quarters?
Here’s an angle…
On-line, I believe it’s an absolute, more than off-line. On line, anything less than 100% trust is no trust at all. So our attitude to trust is increasingly important.
What do you think?
Mark Oakes says
Interesting question, David 🙂
In my experience, Trust is case-dependent. To understand that, though, we first have to define what Trust is. While many ascribe it to a ‘feeling’ (e.g. “I Trust this personal implicitly because they never done anything to violate my Trust”.. or “I like them and therefore I trust them”), this approach is too fluffy and lacks hard edges. Trust boils down to the marriage between two essential ingredients; Integrity and Ability. Integrity is simply that element of character where someone ‘does what they say they will do’. Ability is self explanatory… a person has the wherwithal to deliver on a commitment in the domain in which they’ve committed to doing something. Trust requires both.
This brings us back to point of case dependency. I know folks who are very trustworthy (e.g. parenting, aspects of leadership, etc.) but lack one of the two critical ingredients in other areas of their life. Before I ‘label’ someone as untrustworthy I first need to feret out why they have failed on one of the two building blocks of Trust. For instance, are they seeking immediate praise by saying ‘Yes’ to something they can’t deliver on due to time constraints?… or… have they overestimated their abilities in a certain area and simply can’t deliver?. In each (and many similar) cases there is a real opportunity to mentor another and help them understand how to build and maintain the Trust of others in their lives.