I’m very excited: tomorrow, i host the first Trust Conference, and it will almost certainly go wrong. Not structurally wrong: i am fairly confident that people will turn up, and that the technology will work. The place it will go wrong is in the storytelling, because i’m still trying to find the narrative. This will be a case of exploring at it’s very best: searching for a route, and sometimes getting lost upon the way. And that is what makes it exciting.
This diagram is the most confusing one that i will share: it’s the full results from a prototype ‘Trust’ diagnostic tool, and this plot illustrates the results from the first three full test groups. Whilst it’s uncalibrated as yet, this illustration is the one that gives me hope, because it shows three distinct shadows, three different organisations, not one unified one. It might be clearer if i share these other two plots: the first shows a subset of questions, these ones are ‘positive’ measures, where a low score is ‘bad’, and a high score is ‘good’. You can clearly see the three different organisations: blue, to orange, to grey. I think what this effectively shows us is three different cultures, manifested at scale.
This next diagram shows the negatively measured factors: here, a low score means that you strongly disagree, and a high one that you strongly agree. Once again, three clearly and consistently different cultures are visible.
For me, these measures are not ‘scores’. I don’t subscribe to a notion of ‘trust values’, because the nature of trust itself appears to be so contextual, concurrently internally conflicted, and evolving. But i do find value in being able to baseline one group against another, and in being able to use these visualisations to target development, or change.
It’s probably more accurate to say that a trust diagnostic is not an answer, but it does provide one additional lens through which we can peer, as we seek ways to build an answer.
Ultimately, trust is a notional construct held at an individual level, aggregated up to a group level, and held as a fiction at the organisational level. I have no doubt at all that we can shine a light upon it, and not doubt that levels of trust in an organisation can change, but the momentum will be generated from within the community, at a tribal level, not delivered through an external solution, or moderated by the leadership itself. With trust, all we can do is seek to understand it, and have a humility to be part of the solution.