I’m feeling called to write about trust because I’ve been in relationships (personal and business) where trust prevails and I’ve been in relationships where trust is absent and there’s no comparison. It’s absolutely and starkly clear for me.  Relationships where trust is present are constructive, enjoyable, lasting, and mutually rewarding…Relationships where trust is absent are stressful, unpleasant, short-lived, and mutually expensive.

I believe others experience this difference as dramatically as I do as I’ve heard as much from renowned organizations such as Trusted Advisor Associates, The Table Group, VitalSmarts, Systems-Centered Training and Research Institute, etc.

So why isn’t trust more prevalent in our day-to-day business relationships? Why would we continue to choose something that is so obviously inferior? For everyone involved?

I think it has something to do with the unknown. I think things are moving so quickly, in unchartered territory, with little face-to-face contact. The human psyche has a tendency to fill up the unknown with the negative (e.g., the negative attribution error). I also think it could be that if we haven’t experienced true trust it may be hard to really believe in it.  Acting “as if” takes a lot of courage and a pretty big leap of faith. As David H. Maister, Charles H. Green, and Robert M. Galford write in The Trusted Advisor, “Creating trust entails some personal risk. It is the essence of trust. If you’re not a little scared on occasion, then you’re not taking a risk. And if you’re not taking a risk, you’re not likely to create trust.”

So I’m thinking that in order to enjoy the benefits of trust, we may have to be courageous. Trust requires courage. And courage isn’t easily come by. Meaning it’s no small feat. This helps me to have compassion for all of us out here trying to be courageous and build trustworthy relationships in our very complex, fast-moving, and highly changeable world.