Who do you trust the most right now?  Why is that?  What stops you trusting someone or something?


I listened to a fantastic podcast by Barry Wehmiller last night which had Rich Diviney on it as a guest, an ex US Navy seal to talk about trust.

Interestingly Rich states that Trust is both a noun and a verb, as shown by the above definition of trust, thus trust is both a class of something and also an action word.  I find this interesting.

Many people today are talking about trust, whether it be the lack of trust in the political system today, or hypothetically, even if a son maimed someone, the parents would still trust their son.  Two extremes, but you get my point.  Thus the noun of trust is banded around everywhere.

Less common however is to see trust in action, the verb.  POTUS in the US likes to talk about how he can be trusted to “make America great again.”  The UK government likes to see itself as “strong & stable” as it implodes due to infighting, back-stabbing & a lack of focus as why they are even in the job in the first place i.e. we put them there!

In an organisational & individual context, so many people are steeped in fear that they do not know or cannot bring themselves to trust hardly anybody.  Mental health is on the rise, Gallup continues to show max 1 in 3 people are engaged or fully engaged in their work & the gap between the rich & poor continues to expand.

Reflectively, did we all enter the world as these mistrusting, fearful human beings?  No we didn’t.  Mistrust is a learned behaviour; We learn to mistrust or to be mistrusted over time.

This all looks pretty negative & sad – it is a worrying trend, but there is the solution and it is something both Rich in this podcast and the University of Bath/CIPD cited over 4 years ago:


I have overlaid Rich’s descriptions of Trust with that of the Uni of Bath/CIPDs research and the correlation is perfect.  To that end I feel that this is robust model of self, team & organisational trust that can be used to measure how trusting, or not, we all are through our actions & behaviours.

So some reflections for anyone that may have reached this far down this blog – and be honest with yourself:

  1. Competence – Do you have the ability & capability to do the job in hand?  What support & guidance do you need to increase your level of competence?
  2. Consistency – Are you someone that can be relied on?  Are you volatile & impulsive or do you operate from a place of presence?
  3. Integrity – Are you a person of your word?  If you say that you will do something, do you follow through as indicated?  If you make a mistake, do you remedy?
  4. Compassion – Do you have compassion for your self & those around you? Do you care for yourself & those around you?  How do you practice your own self-care?

For me personally I have always from a young age, been very strong around competence & integrity.  Honestly & vulnerably, my predictability in years gone by has probably made it difficult for people to fully trust me as I had been volatile, impulsive and erratic  in a work context.

A lot of that had been fuelled by my desire to ‘be seen’ to make a difference in the people agenda, but that volatility has now gone.  I operate from a much calmer, higher quality of mind which means my predictability has gone up massively and many people have confirmed this point.

With regards compassion, I am by nature a caring, giving human being, but I have in the past ‘held back’ on that at times, looking for certain people to ‘earn’ that trust.  However I now know this to be the wrong way around.  Trust then be trusted is the mantra I operate from these days and I must say, the richness, diversity & quality of conversation has transformed over the past 18 months in particular on the back of this.

Why not reflect yourself on how you show up at home, at work and in society around the above 4 elements?

Rich talks about the fact that “It is not the duration if time that builds trust – it is what you do with that time”.

Here is the rub.  It takes time to do anything well, yet for some crazy reason, we as individuals & organisations seem to think that we don’t have enough time.

Think about how many 30 mins ‘chats’ you have per day.  How much talking about political manoeuvres you listen to/observe. How much time spent trying to get a laptop back online.  I love this info-graphic which I feel is a fair reflection of office life:

Waste in the Office

I challenge this notion.  We do have enough time, we choose what do with that time and what activities we engage within, thus if we want to trust and be trusted, we need to give time to ensuring that we are:

  • Consistent in our approach
  • That we operate with integrity and follow through on what we way we will
  • That we are competent in the work & the relations that we hold dear.  If we are not, then seek help & be vulnerable
  • That we live life from a place of compassion.  Go first and offer compassion, even if you are not getting it upfront.  Pay your compassion forward

I cannot help feel that we are at a tipping point.  It feels scary, there is a lot of pain right now, but I cannot help feeling that society, at scale, is re-connecting as tech enables us to do that and this is what threatens the outdated, current command and control structures whether at work or at a government level.

Now is the time to lead your own being & your work, with compassion, integrity, competence & capability, thereby evidencing trust.

My advice from experience

Be trustworthy up front so that you can help others do the same.

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