The Need for Trust

The formal structure of an organisation is visible, clear, codified by rules, system, and process. It’s the management structure the determines whether i have power over you. In parallel to this, runs the social structure, and it doesn’t work in this way. Social structures are multi layered, complex, adaptive, conflicting, and strongly tribal, and it’s the nature of bonds within this system that i’ve been exploring with the Landscape of Trust research.

Social Leadership 100 - Reputation

Trust is complex: probably not one thing, but rather a basket of forces that, in aggregate, we look at and decide, ‘do we have trust’. And we do that at the level of the individual, the group, and the organisation. Trust is not a ‘one time’ force, but rather something that we constantly assess, so if we have it today, i may break it tomorrow.

The Socially Dynamic Organisation - Bonds of Trust

I’ve been gathering stories of trust: how it forms, grows, and fractures, and those stories reflect the complexity of the subject. People describe trust differently, and that’s led to me consider twelve aspects in the research: clear differences emerge based upon gender, age, the use of technology, culture, and ethnicity. Not, i suspect, differences in what trust means, but rather in how we experience it. For example, people ‘trust’ formal systems less than social ones. And, generally, if we experience ‘trust’, we will feel it as ‘freedom’. A freedom to explore, to collaborate.

To thrive in the Social Age, we must build a more Socially Dynamic Organisation: one that finds it’s strength in it’s diversity, a strength built not on codified power, but on community power, and reputation based authority. And an organisation with trust at it’s heart: broader networks of trust, bonds which cross over formal structure, building a secondary web that transcends it.

If we want innovation, if we want fairness, if we wish to build a deep capability in transformation, we need to create conditions for community, and that should start with trust.

About julianstodd

Author, Artist, Researcher, and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the context of the Social Age and the intersection of formal and social systems.
This entry was posted in Community, Social Leadership, Trust and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The Need for Trust

  1. Pingback: Learners are Changing at Masie Learning 2017 | Conduent Blog

  2. Cimberli Kearns says:

    How can a positive narrative be shaped by social leaders in a tribe whose members are bound together by a valid mistrust of the organization in which the tribe is situated? If the negative stories that circulate are true and can’t be countered, what strategies can be employed to write and tell stories that reinforce positive connections and address concerns. How do you find a balance between being a Pollyanna and a Cassandra?

    • julianstodd says:

      I think it’s about writing stories of difference, so we don’t need to find a positive narrative, or a narrative of consensus, but rather a narrative where we can share our differences? Thanks for sharing your thoughts Cimberli, best wishes, Julian

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