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DT’s Tower: Are You Certain About Trust?

After attending this year’s Trust Conference I had the privilege to hear a great deal about ‘trust’.  Although it is central to the concept of Talent Dynamics, when I first heard about Trust (never mind Flow) I thought…

“What a load of hippy rubbish”

Most Lords (and those of the Steel persuasion) would probably have the same reaction.  Give me NUMBERS, give me FACTs, give me something CERTAIN you hear them shout (or think or mutter or write in an email draft that never gets sent would probably be more accurate).

My mind has changed over the past 4 years and the Trust Conference certainly (yes pun intended), helped me understand why.

Misunderstanding Trust

The way we understand Trust is a little misleading.  We probably use the word or synonyms of the word on a daily basis.  It mostly refers to people and our interactions with people.  And this is where the ‘fuzziness’ comes in.  I’ve mentioned before how in a choice between numbers and people I’ll edge towards numbers, simply because they are more certain.

1 (the number) is always 1.  It is never 2.  It is never 0.  Its relationship between the other numbers is fixed and knowable.  Can the same be said about people?  Not really.  There are the complexities of emotions and mood to take into account.  Communication and understanding come into play.  Even with our nearest and dearest, we mostly love them, we sometimes tolerate them… we on occasion can’t stand them!

I have to confess I’m not always 100% sure about myself sometimes! 😀

Trust Isn’t an Emotion

So when someone says ‘I trust them’ or ‘I don’t trust them’, this is an emotional thing isn’t it?  That is what I always perceived Trust as being, certainly (creeping in a lot that word) when I first heard about Trust & Flow.

Nope.  I was (and this is in writing) wrong.

Trust can be intuitive.  It can be based on an instinct.  You can trust or mistrust a person or a group or a thing on first sight.  Yet it isn’t emotional.  The dictionary definition of Trust mentions ‘certainty’.  I can trust someone or something to act in a certain way.  If I distrust them I am not certain.  I have doubts.

Can you see where I’m going with this?


Lord’s (and their Steel comrades) use and value Trust ALL THE TIME (even if they don’t know it).  It is down to its certainty.  The routines, the people and the behaviours that they lock themselves into (sometimes positively, sometimes negatively) is down to their trusting that it is the correct action based on past experience (rarely on gut instinct).

A Creator might get a flash of insight into a person that tells them they should work with a person.  A Supporter might go on whether they like them or what other people (they trust) think of them.  A Trader might go on gut instinct or look at their qualifications.

It’s the Lord that spends hours looking through a LinkedIn profile to see what they have done and how well.  They are looking for the certainty of experience.

After all, if someone has done something before.  And well.  You can trust that they can repeat that.

A Trust Test

The final nail in the coffin (so to speak) for me is the fact that Trust can be measured.  That is certain.  Whereas emotion can fluctuate rapidly, trust slowly builds and is ebbed away, affecting relationships, affecting performance.  Affecting results.

This is where tools such as the Trust Test are so useful.  It allows you to see where the areas you are trusted in are (because you are naturally talented there and enjoy them) and where you can struggle.  The Trust Test is particularly useful because it allows you to use social networks to easily get others to share where they trust you, leading to a more accurate and certain picture.

Before I go and look at some LinkedIn profiles… What was your first reaction to the idea of Trust as something tangible?  Has it changed?

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