According to the entry on wikipedia, trust is a relationship of reliance.
It does not need to involve belief in the good character, vices, or morals of the other party. And it does not need to include an action that you and the other party are mutually engaged in. In fact, trust is a prediction of reliance on an action, based on what a party knows about the other party.
In sociology (and psychology) the degree to which one party trusts another is a measure of belief in the honesty, benevolence and competence of the other party. Based on the most recent research, a failure in trust may be forgiven more easily if it is interpreted as a failure of competence rather than a lack of benevolence or honesty.
In psychology, trust is integral to the idea of social influence: it is easier to influence or persuade someone who is trusting.
That is if you trust the definition from a wiki.
I can trust you without liking you, I just need to respect you. I have written this before - we buy from brands we do not like, but we need to respect someone to have a relationship with them (if so inclined, look at my presentation on corporate bloggers).
If you cross me, there is no amount of competence you can throw at me. It's very difficult to come back from a falling of trust. Not impossible, as Stephen M.R. Covey (the son) writes, in Speed of Trust, it will take work and commitment.
Mileage may vary from individual to individual. I have written before about social capital and trust. This is a conversation where we are just skimming the surface at the moment. It is worth pondering the consequences of how we're thinking about trust, because it is affecting our reality and our world.
If we have the power to create our own future, what we see as our marketplace and economic environment at the moment is nothing to be proud of. Let's stop making excuses and start behaving our way out of it.
Trust has an enormous impact over the destiny of what is going on with social media and conversations. We need to start paying attention to language and be more aware of the difference between behavior and intention - we tend to judge other people's behavior on the basis of our own intention. They are often apples and oranges.
I don't know about you, but I find it more difficult to become intimate with issues these days. However, I have not lost the ability to become intimate with and interested in people. In fact, if anything, our hunger for intimacy and feeling special has increased exponentially. Could it be because we seek in others what we think we lost in ourselves?
Trust in organizations and entities is at an all time low. With reason. But we do need to have businesses and mechanisms to earn a living. What do you propose in their stead? Are you building a business that we can believe in? Lead us.
It's a two-way street - you cannot have your cake and eat it, too. Are your expectations unrealistic? Clarifying expectations is your first responsibility - to yourself and to others, in business and in life. This is all connected, yes, we have succeeded in bringing down the wall, now it's up to us to make it work, to bridge onto what's next.
Forrester says: people don't trust companies
Rich Becker puts it so well himself that I can hardly add to it. Why do we rely on an analyst to tell us what we already know? Do you trust your own company? Chances are you trust the people you work with. Think long and hard at this one. You don't have to tell me, just make sure you know yourself, deep down. It's a private conversation - yes, there is value in holding some things to yourself.
We contribute to companies - we vote both by joining as employees in opportunistic moves and by buying those products in consumerist moves.
If you read fiction, James Webb has written a great story about trust, compassion and loyalty in The Emperor's General. It will probably give you some food for thought on assigning blame.
We talk code
One of the most difficult jobs inside an organization is that of uncovering and communicating its purpose-idea. That is because most people think "brand" and when that happens, a curtain comes down. Thanks to the proliferation of talk on brands and everyone's exposure to marketing - some call it pounding - everyone thinks they know what it means and what the work entails.
Conversations come down to a matter of opinion.
And while opinions are important, as facts are, truth trumps both. "I don't like it," I hear. "Why don't you like it?" I ask. "I don't know, I just don't like it," is often the answer. It's not a thread or a conversation, and it becomes a distraction - it prevents the uncovering of purpose (truth) and direction.
Worse, I think that promotion and advertising (is there truth in?) have reinforced the dichotomy between personal intention and our judgment of the behavior of others against it. We project our own doubts and insecurities onto the actions of others.
Do you know what you want?
Let's face it, we're all on a quest for new trust mechanisms. Personal experiences have become the new barometer for extrapolating trends. We stopped outsourcing trust to institutions but instead of holding ourselves accountable for our own ethics and behavior, we have shifted that responsibility onto others. Then we cast stones at people we hold up as influentials when we were the ones putting them on the pedestal in the first place.
Chris is a person, in case you forgot, and so are you. He is an interesting person, because he is interested and curious. Start there as you pick apart what he has done with sponsorship. What have you actually done with sponsorship that we could hold as best practice? Let's not talk hypothetically here. Give me an example. Now tell me, will it work again? Is it repeatable? Teach me.
In theory lots of things work, and then they meet the reality, the messy reality of the marketplace - filled with customers. Customers are people, just like you. They can be difficult and downright unreasonable. Today at Fast Company expert blog we discuss what customers want and why marketers need to understand the job to do and not the customer to deliver something we may want to buy.
We and our behavior are made and shaped by the job we are trying to do, and through our interaction with others. Instead of casting stones, we'd do better at casting a pebble in the water. As Mark Earls writes in Herd, choose the pebble wisely, choose how to throw it - but once the stone leaves your hand you have to let it go. Watch its flight, by all means, but then sit back and watch the ripples that it creates roll across the water.
Know what you want, but do not get attached to outcomes. Relinquishing control with dignity is the greatest challenge of the 21st century, wrote Kevin Kelly. That is trust.
[image courtesy of thorinside]