Blog Post

Building Trust

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 22 April 2008



Building Trust
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Knowledge LetterAppears in the Gurteen Knowledge Letter issue: 94
Posted DateTuesday 22 April 2008 08:41 GDT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen
Linkshttp://www.cognitive-edge.com/blogs/dave/2008/01/confusing_s ... 

Whenever I meet new people with whom I would like to work I often say lets find a small project on which we can work together so we can build mutual trust. The process is simple.
  • We work on something small and build trust.
  • Having built trust we work together more and the trust grows.
  • Its an iterative process: work together; build trust; work together build trust ... but this is key - it always starts by working together.
  • If at any time either of us lets the other down badly or abuses the relationship then the trust is pretty much destroyed and its unlikely that we will ever work together again.
Dave Snowden sums it up well in this post on Confusing symptoms with cause.
Trust is an emergent property of the process of engagement not a precondition.

Credit: Dave Snowden.
The trust question is a classic confusion of symptoms with cause, just as creativity is a symptom of innovation not its cause, so trust is the symptom of interaction over time. If that interaction is not testing, then the trust is fragile. If the trust is simply the result of few contextual exercises (throwing yourself backwards off a brick wall is the classic) then it is temporary. Focus on the process, rather than trying to preset emergent outcomes and you get a more sustainable solution.
Credit: Dave Snowden.
And note his point creativity being a symptom of innovation and not its cause!! Dave is so right we often confuse symptoms with cause.

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
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