Success is when “it” worked out. Trust is when you hope it will but also know it just might not. This is about being as well as about doing. And about allowing somebody else to handle and hold a part of ourselves that we truly care about –  in the hope they will not mess it up. Or else, we might get hurt, and sometimes we will. Or, we might be the ones doing the messing up, whether intentional or not, and we need to live with that too.

Trust is where it gets personal. It is about us, and about the other person, and what happens in between. And while you probably realize if it is there or not, addressing it could benefit from taking a closer look. My favorite model is the famous trust equation (Maister, Green, Galford) that breaks trustworthiness into different components. Credibility, reliability, intimacy (aka familiarity) and self-interest as the draining part below the line.

trust equation

These things are never as perfectly mathematical in real life, but it is a workable start. So, to increase trust, we have to get to know a situation, a person (and be OK enough with what we see and experience). We have to see a connection between action and outcome, the reliability. And we have to believe in their reasons and background, in their big “why”. Big “why’s” are best when shared, and that helps with keeping self-interest in check to not drain the whole lot. All of this is an emotional investment with an uncertain return, and real-life negative impact when it doesn’t work out.

Credibility and reliability are reasonably well sanctioned by how we tend to do business. A lot of how they show up have to do with doing things, the thing we like to think we are good at. Intimacy and (low) self-interest touch more on the being, and that is a lot harder. It feels a lot more vulnerable and “closer” to our core, to who we (think we) are. In its fragility, trust can’t be but personal.

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