So you want to build trust?

ImageWe read a lot about the absence of trust, the extent to which trust has been eroded in society today and the need for organisations and their leaders to work to regain the trust they supposedly had.  At the weekend I had an interesting conversation (via Twitter) with Craig Sands and colleagues at The Chrysalis Group about trust and being trustworthy.

I said that I would share a model of trust building that I’ve created over the past few months – this is it above.  As you can see there are three elements that need to link if trust is to be developed – Mutual Dependence (to what extent do we need each other?), Mutual Alignment (to what extent doe we share views) and Mutual Respect (to what extent do we like each other).

These in turn are routed in our cultural norms (and so our willingness to enter into trusting relationships will vary between cultures) and our personal readiness to invest the necessary time and effort in building trust and behaving in trustworthy ways.

You can also see that making a start requires one of the parties to take a risk – e.g. to share their needs, their goals and values and/or the extent to which they are prepared to listen to the others.

And that element of initial risk taking can be the most difficult to achieve.  But of course the only thing more risky than taking that first step is to not take it.  And therefore never start on a journey that may lead to the undoubted benefits greater trust brings to us, our live and that of our colleagues, customers, friends and families.