I enjoyed John Hagel’s latest post Resolving the Trust Paradox. I do think paradoxes are interesting; shifting perspective to paradox from contradiction often seems to open up new possibilities.

I think I broadly agree with John that the way organisations can build trust is shifting away from claiming status and authority towards showing vulnerability. I noticed a while back that it used to be that videos with high production values conferred status, whereas in recent years, we might be more trusting of something rougher and (possibly) more authentic. But there are loads of exceptions and context, as usual, is king.

I’m going to reflect further on what John says about passion – the gist of which seems to be that passion has some causal relationship with trust. I’m a bit wary of the whole passion meme, I often squirm at being asked what I’m passionate about, and I’m not convinced vehement people ooze trustworthiness.

On the whole, I think the direct pursuit of trust can be a mistake; it’s probably more something that emerges from the messy business of collaboration.

2 thoughts on “Trust…

  1. Tim Kastelle

    Nice post Johnnie – I think that you’re exactly right in saying that trust is an emergent property of collaboration. It’s another objective that can only be approached obliquely.

  2. Penny Walker

    I work a lot with clients who have an objective of building trust.

    If they’re not to be trusted, I don’t want to help them!

    I talk about a twin-track approach: you gain trust by

    * being trustworthy (saying what you mean, doing what you say, fessing up when you screw up),

    * and by trusting the other party (showing your doubts, uncertainties, vulnerabilities and ceding control).

    Fake authenticity is a false economy. See recent astroturfing in Japan nuclear industry:


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