Building Trust, A Place to Start
I am often asked why trust levels are so low and what on earth can we do about it. I am delighted to report that I’ve been introduced to an App that has the potential to help make things better. I Trust It Social (labelled iTRUSTit) shows some remarkable promise for those of us who would like to see more trust in the world. I’ll now walk through why trust is so low and how I see an app like iTRUSTit helping.
Why is trust so low?
Trust is a combination of uncertainty and vulnerability. Uncertainty times vulnerability gives us a level of perceived risk. We each have a threshold of risk that we are comfortable with. If our perception of the risk goes beyond that threshold we don’t trust. This means that if uncertainty is high then vulnerability needs to be relatively low for our perception of risk to remain below our threshold. If uncertainty is low then the range of vulnerability we can tolerate is broader.
To illustrate the connection between uncertainty and vulnerability, think about the relationships in your life. Shallow, or new, relationships tend to have higher levels of uncertainty. We are usually less willing to make ourselves vulnerable to those we don’t know all that well. As we get to know each other better our uncertainty goes down and we become increasingly willing to make ourselves vulnerable. In our deepest relationships we have extremely low levels of uncertainty and we are willing to consider almost anything.
So why are trust levels so low? We’ve been experiencing some extreme spikes in uncertainty. A global pandemic has led to dramatic changes in how we interact and go about our work. Different jurisdictions have also had dramatically different responses. Opinions on the best approach have been wildly varied and, at times, led to conflict. Changes in technology have allowed us to connect with people around the world in a way we were never previously able to. While there are incredible benefits to many of the changes we’ve experienced there is also a cost. The sense of community we once relied on has diminished and many of our perspectives have become a mile wide and an inch deep. There are a host of other factors that have prompted a profound sense of discomfort and uncertainty.
Significant spikes in uncertainty on their own would lead to decreases in general trust levels. Unfortunately, our perceptions of vulnerability haven’t been in decline to offset this rise in uncertainty. A global pandemic combined with inflation, rising international tensions, supply chain issues, and extreme climate events certainly hasn’t made us feel less vulnerable. Vulnerability is made more acute by our perceptions of scarcity. This can feel even more daunting when it’s trust itself that seems to be scarce.
So how do we build trust?
If uncertainty and vulnerability are at the center of the trust equation then building it has to involve steps to reduce our perceptions of those elements. When I work with clients, I show them 10 levers they can pull to build trust with others. Four of these are within uncertainty and two are within vulnerability. I’ve talked through these levers in other articles and podcasts so won’t repeat myself here.
Generally, uncertainty comes from us as individuals and from the context we are embedded in. Any steps we can take to make it easier for others to predict us reduces their uncertainty and makes trust easier.
How does iTRUSTit help?
I need to start by saying I don’t have shares in this company and I haven’t been paid for a review. I genuinely believe this app has the potential to make a positive difference. The iTRUSTit app allows you to identify service providers, businesses and organizations you trust. This information is available to the whole community and is highlighted for those you are friends with. This is a combination of positive feedback about good experiences and the activation of a shared network. Also included in the app are groups and causes you to associate yourself with.
The inclusion of our friend’s network and our affiliations is actually a step toward making our contexts more transparent for one another. It also allows the service providers we engage with to do the same. This is the primary way that iTRUSTit differentiates itself from services like Angie’s list or Yelp. The knowledge that my friends Kevin and Jenny trust the provider carries more weight than a series of anonymous ratings that may be more prone to fake reviews.
An app like this has the potential to strengthen the new form of community that is evolving. Sharing our understanding of products and services with each other can help us build a better sense of community and potentially act as a feedback mechanism for those providing services to us.
I got the chance to speak with Ed MacLaughlin, the founder and CEO of iTRUSTit. He is hoping to help build stronger communities. It’s free to join and the company needs users to help build traction and attract the funding needed to help it grow. The company will grow and evolve, adding more features and, eventually, including friend-trusted products, TV shows & Movies and more.
bringing together people, businesses and the organizations that connect and strengthen our communities.
I hope that everyone signs up and supports this innovative attempt to build trust. You can start by checking out my page: https://itrustit.com/TrustUnlimited. Apparently if it generates enough traffic a donation will be made to the charity of my choice which is of course the charity that provided me with my guide dog Drake https://itrustit.com/bcguidedogs
Darryl is one of the world’s leading experts on Trust. He teaches leaders how to find and use their most powerful tool. A tool that is always in a leader’s control, how to effectively build Trust in their relationships.