Image for post
Image for post

Just like beauty, trust is much deeper than in the eyes of the beholder. According to new findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, our brain has evolved the ability to make moral assessments of strangers. Hence, the importance of Trust By Design!

Yet, the environment, or the circumstances within which a first encounter takes place, are of paramount importance for trust creation and development.

Think about meeting a complete stranger in the middle of a street, out of the blue. Chances are, you would not feel very comfortable, even if the stranger is likeable.

Now think about meeting a complete stranger at a family reunion. Chances are, you will give the stranger the benefit of the doubt, at least until proven otherwise.

Trust, obviously, can best emerge from experience. From the very first feelings and emotions experienced at the first encounter. If these feelings and emotions are not positive, then it would be much more difficult to build and develop any trust. If on the other hand, these feelings and emotions are very positive, trust will manifest itself rather spontaneously. However, if this trust is compromised in any way, it will disappear much faster than you can imagine.

Although consistency, reliability, and integrity (reputation) are necessary conditions for solving the stranger = danger bias, they are still insufficient to generate trust.

Here’s where information and experience come into play. But it has to be the right experience and the right amount of information. Too little information or a bad experience does not generate trust, but neither does too much information or an overwhelming experience. Actually, too little or too much information and a “negative” experience can generate just the opposite, i.e., distrust.

So, what is a “positive” experience or the “right” amount of information required for trust generation?

Well, just think about how you would feel if you were to host a stranger or be hosted by one? What type of experience would make you most comfortable? How much information would you feel comfortable receiving from your guest or providing to your host about you?

Once the first impressions are settled on a positive note, everything else may follow through also on a positive note i.e., if you treat someone with respect, chances are, you’ll be treated back with respect and a positive experience will be built along with the trust it entails. The same principle, or worse, can apply on a negative note.

Hence, the importance of designing and creating an environment conducive to trust establishment and development from the very foundation: Consistency + Reliability + Integrity.

If there is even the shadow of a doubt about the transparency of any process, or the values and/or integrity are compromised in any way, shape or form, the frailty of trust will manifest itself immediately by disappearing like a mist in the air.

Trust is the sine qua non requirement for efficient organizational functioning.
We all know that “high trust is a dividend; low trust is a tax.” When employees feel trusted by management, they perform better in every aspect and accept responsibility for their work.

How to go about designing for trust in any business?

To begin with, you only have two choices about the organizational structure, namely, a restrictive dominant hierarchy or an enhancive non-dominant hierarchy.

If you choose a restrictive organizational structure you don’t have to worry about trust because this command-and-control structure only cares about execution, i.e., effectiveness, regardless of any inefficiencies which, obviously, render it unsustainable.

However, if you choose an enhancive organizational structure you don’t have to worry about trust either. But this time because trust is part of the design principles or DNA of the enhancive organizational structure.

In other words, trust is built into its organizational principles by design, thus creating an organizational environment within which trust is established from day one and further developed based upon attributes such as transparency, moral authority, ethical values, and integrity.

This trust development gives rise to a Tropophilic Organization.

This is at the organic level, i.e., human level. At the inorganic level, there is a beautiful construct called blockchain that is already revolutionizing the world as we know it.

Blockchain can develop trust consistently all the time and all over the planet through cryptography and the power of mathematics.

Here’s To The Health Of Your Trust By Design!

JC Wandemberg Ph.D.

President & Founder

Sustainable Systems International

About the author: Dr. Wandemberg is an international consultant, professor, and analyst of economic, environmental, social, managerial, marketing, and political issues. For the past 30 years Dr. Wandemberg has collaborated with corporations, communities, and organizations to integrate sustainability through self-transformation processes and Open Systems Design Principles, thus, catalyzing a Culture of Trust, Transparency, and Integrity.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store