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.
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.
And note his point creativity being a symptom of innovation and not its cause!! Dave is so right we often confuse symptoms with cause.