Trust

It is said that it takes time to build trust but just a moment to destroy it. However, we trust others all the time without thinking about it.

For example, when we cross a road at a pedestrian crossing we trust drivers to recognise and obey the red light. In a restaurant, we accept meals prepared and presented to us by total strangers (something Roman emperors would never do)!. Our trust is based on the past behaviour of others who may have no connection or real influence (and, with that, the Roman emperors had good reason to employ food tasters)!

We learn whether or not to trust others around us – it’s one of the first things we learn in life. Babies are virtually helpless at birth and totally rely on their parents. As we grow, our experience tells us how far we can trust others – and that’s something that is different for each one.

When we enter any new situation, or meet new people, we instinctively decide whether, how much and with what, to trust others. We may start from a position of full trust (as we usually do in a new restaurant) or no trust (as we might, or should do, with a cold caller offering us a great investment deal) – or somewhere in between, where we trust with mundane and low risk matters but keep a check on things when it comes to the more important things. I said “instinctively” earlier in this paragraph because we rarely address the matter of trust consciously; we rarely think about the degree of trust we’re placing – it’s usually more so with distrust. Our experience dictates how our instinct leads and blinds us to what may be irrational levels of trust/distrust.

Sometimes we need to stop and think about the situation, to ask ourself how much trust we are granting and whether that is justified. Perhaps we are trusting where we should be more cautious (the situation for some folk when dealing with cold callers) or, alternatively, perhaps we need to trust more. This latter situation is the case with many in business, where management systems are designed so that management keep a tight rein on how things are done.

(Posted as a blog 16th September 2019)