This blog, Social Advantage, focuses on the opportunities that developing social capital, or the connections, relationships, and conversations taking place in an organisation, has on business effectiveness and competitive advantage.
Regular readers of this blog, and my Strategic Human Capital Management one, will know about the HR and Leadership Development carnivals I already participate in. This carnival is rather different.
Firstly, although some people will have submitted their posts to the carnival, the intent is to publish the very best posts on trust within the recent period (from the perspective of the person hosting the carnival!). So a lot of these posts have been identified by the carnival’s co-ordinator, Ian Welsh, or from my own feed reader. Secondly, there is a desire to keep the number of posts down to a manageable number, ideally just 10.
So here are my top 10 recent posts on trust. I hope you’ll like them:
Trust seems to be particularly topical at the moment. Perhaps it’s because of the turn of the year and our natural tendency to review the state of our lives and our relationships. And maybe it’s because of the fall in trust over the last year as a result of the crisis and recession (more information on this to be provided in Edelman’s latest barometer in a few week’s time). But I think it’s also because we realise trust is becoming more important. In this post, Brian Solis suggests that we’re entering a new, trust economy:
“While brands weigh the scalability and ROI of investing in relationships, as a consumer, I can assure you, a reasonable attempt at fostering relations is a noble and respectable endeavor.
We’re no longer limiting relationships to friends, family and associates. As our comfort and interaction increase in social networks, the relationships we forge within each reflect our interests and aspirations.
The curated micro networks we forge within each respective social network serves as a trusted community. Those who can participate or permeate these trust communities must first earn the prominence of what Chris Brogan and Julien Smith call Trust Agents – those individuals who are deserving of your time and attention as demonstrated through their actions and words.”
Perhaps another reason that trust seems so topical is that unearned trust appears to have been one of the things which led to all the problems we’ve experienced over the last year or so. In this post, the BBC’s Robert Peston discusses the misplacing of trust in those overseeing the financial services industry (there’s a UK context to the post but I think it has relevance elsewhere).
“We trusted the Treasury, the Financial Services Authority and the Bank of England to make the right decisions about the structure and stewardship of our banking industry - and they got it spectacularly wrong.
That's representative democracy - but actually normal representative democracy doesn't really operate in this sphere,
How so? Well, most of our elected representatives - including ministers - understand less about banking and finance than even those who actually ran the banks.”
Peston’s post raises a number of issues including who we give our trust to. But the question that occurs to me is how then do people earn our trust? And I love this post from Sharlyn Lauby which looks at this need to earn trust rather than giving our trust to others unconditionally. This is a slightly older post but is still topical having been included in this month’s leadership development carnival which provided the best leadership posts from 2009.
“But I’ve been struggling with the concept of giving trust versus earning trust. I mean trust is a pretty big thing. Like love, respect, admiration, etc. I don’t know that we give those unconditionally. People have to earn them. By their actions and by their words. And, once you earn them…if they’re taken for granted or abused, they might be taken away. As in, losing a person’s respect.
Is it possible this is what really happens: when we meet people it’s not that we give them our unconditional trust…but we don’t distrust them. There’s a difference. Maybe there’s a ‘trust limbo’ where we all reside until a person decides they can unconditionally trust us or they need to distrust us. Just a thought I’m tossing out there.”
One of Lauby’s points is how easy it is to loose trust. This fourth post looks at how trust can be lost during organisational change processes and suggests that change needs to be planned, communicated and implemented effectively to maintain trust:
“Trust is a critical foundation for any organization; employees learn that companies and people in those companies behave in routine ways across a number of situations that they encounter. Unfortunately destroying trust can be very quickly done by suddenly changing things, or otherwise hitting a very high randomization level for employees. Here is how to destroy organizational trust with employees in three easy steps.”
The next set of posts move onto the role of social media in developing or loosing trust, starting with this one from Jim Gilbert. Explaining that ‘trust is the new black’, Gilbert suggests nine laws of social media:
“If done correctly, the aforementioned laws allow consumers to build or rebuild trust. Social media harkens back to the days of the corner store where consumers and brands had a cordial relationship. Social media builds relationships over time.”
Staying on the social media theme, this posts asks whether it is ethical to publicly post content - that people are charging money for - to an audience that is not paying for it? – or does using Twitter break the trust and atmosphere of a group? As someone who posts regularly from conferences, it’s a question I’ve asked myself many times:
“At Engage!09 The Encore this past October, designer Todd-Avery Lenahan asked everyone to ‘use discretion’ in tweeting his talk as he wanted to be an open book, but knew that Twitter could easily present his stories out of context since many people post soundbites and not complete ideas from presentations. Many smaller events have adopted a similar idea and made their meetings Twitter and Facebook free. Is that the only solution? Will there be large events that are strictly Twitterless? Or does the increased use of these social mediums mean that we'll have to shift our views on not only privacy but on how the industry makes money from instructional events as well?”
This next post reviews 2009’s five worst (and most frequently committed) online faux pas that lie behind some some ‘major online etiquette train wrecks’ (examples of these experiences in other posts that Ian picked out include Adrian Flux Insurance Group, Dominos Pizza [of course], Eurostar, Greyhound, Saatchi & Saatchi / Toyota and Spacelocker. Also see this post on Samboy and recovering from a social media disaster).
Stevens’ faux pas #1 is unintentionally sending spam or malicious links:
“Unintentionally sending spam or malicious links. Please, think twice before you click a strange link. You can't be so trusting on social networks these days. Facebook and Twitter accounts are being infected by malicious links through private messages. Click a strange link (usually something like: Hey you're in this video lolz!!!), and you won't be aware that you sent spam or a virus to most of your connections. And if you are a business account, you just lost the trust and respect of many of your followers.”
So if you’ve made a faux pas and / or experienced a train wreck, how do you recover from it? Well, one way is to make a good apology, but there’s often more to doing this than meets the eye.
This post provides five well known social media apologies and some principles of a relationships building apology.
“In relationships, things go wrong. Person to person or in business, mistakes and missteps can be life changing. A wrongly placed word or deed can bring in question what had gone without thought. Suddenly trust, integrity, honesty, sensitivity, authenticity and the core values that connect us are tested.
Mistakes. No human enterprise or individual gets by without making them. We might not mean them. No harm might have been intended. Yet, we’re not harmless — we can cause hurt or damage by the way we behave. How we respond when we do, is what makes a leader.”
In the last post focusing on web 2.0 / social media that I’ve selected, Susan Scrupski provides some of The 2.0 Adoption Council members’ advice on web / enterprise 2.0 adoption. Trust is at the heart of this requirement too:
“E2.0 is not a new system or program you add to your old. It becomes part of your old – it is not separate, it is integrated into it. Don’t try to make a ‘another thing,’ make it part of ‘the thing.’
All objections are old ones reincarnate. How did they deal with the situation before? Deal with it the same way now.
There is nothing new about this. Take a splash of old fashioned communities, a dash of learning, a cup of trust, a spoonful of “let’s try this…” and a willing heart, and it will work.
Trust is the currency of anything social. If there isn’t trust, there isn’t E2.0. HOWEVER, find where the trust is already and build upon that. You will have the greatest success there.”
Finally, one last post that isn’t about social media, and is rather different from the other posts I’ve assembled in another important way as well. Lessons, laws, rules and ideas all have their place but maybe we also need to approach trust and relationships in a new way?
In this post, JP Rangaswami suggests that we need to build ‘covenant relationships’ and ‘stewardship’. This certainly sounds to me like a key component for Brian Solis’ new trust economy as well as governance of financial services, effective change management, disaster recovery and enterprise 2.0 adoption!
“Everywhere around me I see more and more examples of situations where the core problem people are trying to solve is that of trust. There appears to be a lot of work being done trying to distil trust into something formulaic, data-driven.
And this is good. Data-driven is good. Feedback loops are good. Abstractions and models are good.
There’s something very human about trust. Something more related to the Age of Biology rather than the Age of Physics.”
I hope you find reading this collection of posts helpful and enjoyable. Whether you do or your don’t, I’d value your comments on them below (on my Social Advantage blog if you’re reading this elsewhere).
For more on trust see you may want to scan through some of these posts too: http://blog.social-advantage.com/search/label/Trust.
Thanks to Charles and Ian for the opportunity to host the carnival and I look forward to reading further editions being hosted elsewhere.
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