Mending the social fabric of communities through Trust building
Communities with higher trust levels are more resilient and successful. When difficult times arise these high trust communities tend to rally, share resources, and look out for one another. Unfortunately trust levels have been in decline around the world for some time now. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer this has been particularly true in the US recently. We see this in the polarization of people and the focus on differences rather than similarities.
When low trust communities are faced with adversity the cracks in the foundation become more pronounced and people spiral into desperation and fear. They begin to question and then ignore the rules of the community because it doesn’t seem geared to protect them or promote their interests.
Trust is the willingness to make ourselves vulnerable to another when we can’t predict how they will act. This definition contains elements of uncertainty and vulnerability. We’ve seen dramatic spikes in uncertainty and vulnerability over the last several months as a result of the pandemic. These spikes have the potential to fray the social fabric or communities already struggling. Against this backdrop the death of George Floyd, and the initial response to it, have triggered a wave of anger and protests around the world.
People interpret the world through stories. We have a story and search for confirming evidence. Unfortunately, we don’t seem to have very good stories about one another right now and it isn’t that hard to find evidence to confirm that negative story. What we need to share is that we are not the worst of us.
When I wrote my doctoral thesis on building trust in hostile environments, I didn’t realize that it was preparing me to try and be helpful in moments like these. I’ve spent the last 20 years helping individuals and organizations understand what trust is, how it works, and how to build it. I would really like to be helpful in this moment. To that end I would like to propose that we create and run events where civic leaders (Mayors, Police Chiefs, and advocates) can come together, learn about trust, and take practical applied steps towards building it.
Darryl Stickel has a Ph.D. in Business from Duke University and serves on the faculties of the Luxembourg School of Business and the University of Southern California’sCenter for Effective Organizations. Dr. Stickel is a prior consultant for McKinsey & Company, and is the Founder of Trust Unlimited, Inc. Dr. Stickel has served clients ranging from senior military professionals to senior wealth advisors and CEO’s running multinational corporations.
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.