Everyone in knowledge management acknowledges the vital role trust plays. “Trust is the bandwidth of communication” says Karl-Erik Sveiby. When talking about trust I mostly hear people say “we need to build trust”. But I rarely hear people discuss the issue of what to do when trust is broken and needs to be rebuilt. See below for a process for rebuilding trust. At the core is an apology.
I was reminded of this issue by a post by Seth Godin where he lists 10 apologies from the weakest to the strongest.
In my search for ways to help organisations rebuild trust in groups, I discovered this interesting paper and process which came from work in reconciliation in South Africa. The author suggests a five step process in rebuilding trust. The process requires actions on both sides of the relationship: from the violator of the trust and the victim (this is language from the source material).
Actions of the Violator
This very much looks likes apology 10 above.
Actions of the Victim
Lindskold, S. (1978). “Trust development, the GRIT proposal, and the affects of conciliatory acts on conflict and cooperation.” Psychological Bulletin 85: 772-793.
About Shawn Callahan
Shawn is one of the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on: