Trust requires a relationship

Posted by  Mark Schenk —April 2, 2007
Filed in Collaboration

A New York Times/CBS News poll from July 1999 revealed that 63% of people interviewed believe that in dealing with “most people” you “can’t be too careful” and 37% believed that “most people would try to take advantage of you if they got the chance”. If you assume that this is representative of the people you wish to influence, your first job is to let people see that you can be trusted. How? The same study gives us a hint. Respondents also revealed that of the people that they “know personally,” they would expect 85% of them to “try to be fair.”  Hmmmmm. Could it be that simple? Let people see who you are, help them to feel like they know you personally, and your trust ratio automatically triples? Think about our language: “he’s okay, I know him” or “it’s not that I don’t trust her, I just don’t know her.”1

Our blogs regularly mention the issues of trust and relationships and their importance in the workplace (examples are here and here). The quote above reflects the importance of relationships and why people who are connectors and hubs in social networks are more effective: they have more relationships and more people ‘trust’ them.

1. Annette Simmons, The Story Factor, Basic Books 2006, page 7.


Mark Schenk About  Mark Schenk

Mark works globally with senior leadership teams to improve their ability to communicate clearly and memorably. He has been a Director of Anecdote since 2004 and helped the company grow into one of the world’s leading business storytelling consultancies. Connect with Mark on:


  1. Hmmm – sounds fairly obvious, when you think about it…
    I think that this again comes back to the issue that was briefly discussed on actKM a while ago – should we make a distinction between our personal and professional lives? I am of the opinion that it is the people who are most open about themselves (personally) that are the ones I will be most prepared to trust in business. Another post here has also mentioned that it is the managers that take the most interest in their staff that are the most effective.
    Can we live with no boundary at all? There are risks, and there are issues of balance, but it I think that most of us find it easy to hide more of the personal than we should.
    See my post and some interesting comments here:

  2. David Myers says:

    Trust is such a fickle thing and everyone has different tasks in how they measure trust and how they extend it. Trust in the work environment becomes even more fickle because everyone thinks the other one is trying to up stage them. I was fortunate enough to come across a copy of a new book- The Enlightened CEO: How to Succeed at the Toughest Job in Business. This book is genius for people who are CEO’s or plan on making it that far in their career. The authors really focus on how to approach being a CEO and making decisions in all aspects of your business to truly succeed. Chapter 39 talks about respect, which goes hand in hand in trust. The work environment is stressful enough without always having to suspect the people you work with. If you are business savvy, I encourage you to read a copy of the Enlightened CEO; the book is a relaxed read and just flows the whole way through. I included the link below to the book; I read somewhere that it is only available online. If you’re interested check it out.

  3. Mark says:

    Thanks for the recommendation David. I look forward to reading it.

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