Monday, September 18, 2006

The Trust Equation 1.0 !


This is a 1.0 version of a formula for measuring trust in relationships. It's intended to use a formula for assessing the complex and intangible dynamic of trust.

It basically says that trust is the multiplication of weighted expectations and delivery on expectations, divided by the multiplication of expectation clarity and usefulness of feedback. It's actually based on intensive work I've done recently in client organizations on trust building between individuals, managers and departments.

And here's the process:

1. In the case of trust between two people, each person lists their 5 top expectations of each other in categories including what they depend on from each other in the areas of information, help, and outcomes. Then for each, they identify on a 1-5 scale (low-high) how important each expectation is to them - this creates a list of weighted expectations. These scores are added for a total weighted expectation score.

2. Then each person assesses how well (again on the 1-5 scale) the other usually delivers on each of these expectations. The scores are totalled for a delivery score. The two numerator scores are then multiplied for a total top number.

3. Then the other person creates the denominator number. If I'm assessing June's performance against my weighted expectations for the numerator of the equation, June is doing the denominator. She assesses on the 1-5 scale how clearly I usually communicate each of these top 5 expectations. Then she assesses on the 1-5 scale, the usefulness of feedback she usually gets from me on her delivery on these expectations. Then these two figures are added for a total and multiplied for my denominator score. I do the same for her denominator score.

4. Then the differences are calculated for a total trust score.

So now we get have a conversation about questions like:

Is there an "ideal" score range?
Are there other variables the formula needs to consider?
If the point of the process is the conversation, how are results best interpreted?

7 comments:

Spinorb said...

Fascinating! Okay, what if someone has broken my trust in the past, so I have adjusted my expectations of them. I now prefer to underestimate what they are capable of. Then they deliver very successfully on that. How does that impact their score?

June said...

I really think the importance is something I call "accurate assessment"--can you make your expectations very real and situation-based: I trust you a lot to listen well to me but don't trust you much to rember to pick me up for a meeting. When someone doesn't meet expectations, I think it's important to try to keep the expectations realistic by talking about what happened. So it's important for us to challenge ourselves to not blithely lower expectations, but to explore the situation. In fact, the quality of such a discussion can and should determine whether expectations are lowered. We really need to push the edges of trust all the time, trying to maximize trust so we can do higher risk and higher impact joint actions with others.

Jack said...

Great questions and comments!

On one level, if I lower my expectations closer to how people are actually behaving, it makes them more trustworthy. The downside: it can make them less valuable to me. June's wisdom on this makes me think of the whole self-fulfilling dimensions of expectations, which raises questions beyond trust.

Ideasware said...

Maybe it's the late hour, but I consider myself pretty mathemtically competent, and this equation seems wrong to me.

1) whose trust is being measured? Certainly it is not right that in any relationship, both sides have the same level of trust. Is it the trust that the "numerator definer" has in the "denominator definer"?

2) have you actually found that trust goes DOWN when expectations are set clearly? This does NOT seem right.

3) similarly, do you believe that trust goes down when useful feedback is provided?

4) conversely, if I have the scales backwards, are you saying that trust is directly correlated with clear communication and accurate feedback? My experience is that this is TRUE with people who are secure, capable, and "trusting", but not generally true.

Valdis said...

Jack, Peter is right!

It would make more sense if the equation had no denominator. All items you show could be multiplied, ...or maybe added. Each of their values would range from a low of zero to a high of one. The product/sum would give an approximation of trust in any situation: a score near zero would reveal minimum trust and a score near one would point to high trust.

John said...

Hi, I found this fascinating and so I used it in the last two weeks - with attribution of course. However I had to change the equation to make sense to me. As modified, the "Trust Index" for me is the ratio of two areas graphically understood as the area of the actual divided by the area of the possible maximum scores.

The actual on the "Y" axis is the sum of the expectation weights multiplied by the actual score for each individual expectation. The possible on the "Y" axis is the sum of the expectation weights multiplied by 5 - maximium possible score.

The horizontal or "X" axis is the product of the Clarity/effectiveness scores. The actual is the sum of the products of the actual scores of each expectation, and the possible is 25 X 5, the maximum possible score.

The TI equation numerator then is actual Y times actual X - an area on the graph, and the denominator is possible Y times possible X - the largesst possible, given the weights. The ration of these two is always less than 1, and the closer to 1 you get the higher trust exists between the two parties.

The above is for Person A's expectations and Person B's clarity and feedback for Person A's expectations. A similar equation was developed for the B to A relationship, because I think they are different expectations and it is not obvious to me that are comparable.

I'm mostly interested in if the index changes actually. I don't care a lot about the starting point, I consider it a baseline reference. I'd like to redo the expectations or at least revisit them in about 3 months to see if things have changed.

Thanks for this very interesting thought.

John

Anonymous said...

Because the text isn't visible, i've added the original text:

From the page: "
This is a 1.0 version of a formula for measuring trust in relationships. It's intended to use a formula for assessing the complex and intangible dynamic of trust.

It basically says that trust is the multiplication of weighted expectations and delivery on expectations, divided by the multiplication of expectation clarity and usefulness of feedback. It's actually based on intensive work I've done recently in client organizations on trust building between individuals, managers and departments.

And here's the process:

1. In the case of trust between two people, each person lists their 5 top expectations of each other in categories including what they depend on from each other in the areas of information, help, and outcomes. Then for each, they identify on a 1-5 scale (low-high) how important each expectation is to them - this creates a list of weighted expectations. These scores are added for a total weighted expectation score.

2. Then each person assesses how well (again on the 1-5 scale) the other usually delivers on each of these expectations. The scores are totalled for a delivery score. The two numerator scores are then multiplied for a total top number.

3. Then the other person creates the denominator number. If I'm assessing June's performance against my weighted expectations for the numerator of the equation, June is doing the denominator. She assesses on the 1-5 scale how clearly I usually communicate each of these top 5 expectations. Then she assesses on the 1-5 scale, the usefulness of feedback she usually gets from me on her delivery on these expectations. Then these two figures are added for a total and multiplied for my denominator score. I do the same for her denominator score.

4. Then the differences are calculated for a total trust score.

So now we get have a conversation about questions like:

Is there an "ideal" score range?
Are there other variables the formula needs to consider?
If the point of the process is the conversation, how are results best interpreted?

posted by Jack at 9:22 PM "