Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Speaking of trust

Thought leader, entrepreneur and management academic, Karen Stephenson, talks about the “quantum theory of trust” in organizations, which reflects that the collective cognitive abilities of organizations depends on the presence of trust in its networks of relationships.

As she says, “People have at their very fingertips, at the tips of their brains, tremendous amounts of tacit knowledge, which are not captured in our computer systems or on paper. Trust is the utility through which this knowledge flows.”

Or one might say, people who don’t share trust are less intelligent together; people who share trust are smarter together.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Earned and unearned trust

When we're helping build trust in network relationships, we need to work from two distinctions: earned and unearned trust.

Unearned trust has to do with like and likeness. We naturally trust people like us and people we like. Closing triangles in ways that builds trust means helping people quickly find reasons to like each other and find ways in which they are already similar - in tastes, likes and dislikes, passions, perspectives, agendas, experience, values, and so on.

Earned trust has to do with making and keeping promises. Help people make and keep promises early on in order to help earned trust equity build.

After all, trust is the basis of speed and creativity.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The happiness/unhappiness continuum

Valdis and I have been having this conversation about the quality of relational transactions in networks. We're thinking outside the usual box of the continuum from win-win to lose-lose. In any set of transactions, there are 6 possible outcomes.

A. Happy-Happy: both of us are happy with the outcomes
B. Happy-Tolerably unhappy: one of us is happy while the other is unhappy at acceptable levels
C. Tolerably unhappy-Tolerably unhappy: both of us unhappy at acceptable levels
D. Happy-Intolerably unhappy: one of us is happy while the other is happy at unacceptable levels
E. Tolerably unhappy-Intolerably unhappy: one of us unhappy at acceptable levels while the other is unhappy at unacceptable levels
F. Intolerably unhappy-Intolerable unhappy: both of us are unhappy at unacceptable levels

Obviously, A is the best outcome. B and C are OK in the short run or occasionally but in the long run cannot support the relationship. D, E, and F are to be avoided because they are unsustainable in the short and long run.