Thursday, June 29, 2006

How do we trust?

Business Times p.B3
Thursday, June 29, 2006

By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
How do we trust?

LAST column we shared the view of writers Valerie Nellen and Susan Wilkes in The Pfeiffer Book of Successful Teambuilding Tools. They wrote that trust comes from a three-part foundation composed of competence, consistency and care. We discussed the first two.

The third piece of foundation of trust according to Nellen and Wilkes is care. “When a person demonstrates that he or she cares about our well-being and is willing to put our welfare ahead of his or her concerns, we feel safe. We willingly risk being emotionally, financially, or otherwise vulnerable with a person whom we trust to look out for our needs and keep our secrets.”

When all three centers of trust are found a relationship, “we can say that we trust the other person. When one element is missing, we may trust the person in a limited way, but we do not fully give ourselves over to the other person.

Indeed I have a very good friend who trusts me with her deepest secrets. As her husband would even say, “Moje knows more about my wife than I do.” This is because my friend knows that her secrets are safe with me precisely because we are best friends and I care much about her. These secrets are not exactly shocking or dark or embarrassing. They are everyday things that good friends share with each other. They are really feelings, not much facts and figures.

Sharing feelings and emotions are much more fragile than sharing mere details of facts and figures. Feelings are not easily shared. Sharing feelings and keeping what is shared to oneself is what makes for trust between best friends.

Same things happen in the work situation. Generally, information is easily obtainable. But reactions, conclusions, consequences, next moves are the ones kept under wraps until the proper time. Woe to the ones who make these public. Many a manager lose their job because of “lack of trust.”

How about you? Who do you trust and why do you trust? Do you ever feel vulnerable and dependent on others? How do you define trust? How is trust achieved? How is trust encouraged? How can you build trust in a setting in which risk and vulnerability exist? How can you build trust in everyday setting? How do you deal with breach of trust?

Here’s a reaction from Ernie Cordero: Let me share with you an actual experience of one of the oldest multinational pharma companies in the Philippines (late eighties) when the full field force’s trust crumbled in an instant.

This company was once headed by an old and expat president and CEO who inspired trust and top performance from the entire workforce. The formula—he is treated like a father, an old sage, a very dependable, reliable, generous man. Every year is a triumphant banner year and every member of the organization was so happy until he retired.

Consequently, a new administration came into the company. The supposed bright team laughed and ridiculed the former expat CEO’s style (very Filipino approach) as an example for bad management. This Filipino CEO immediately assumed the position and started to rock the boat, but never reached any quota for his whole stay in the company until he was replaced.

The original field force were either retired, fired or put to oblivion. The new CEO introduced bright and up-to-date management concepts and philosophy. He even called himself “the guru’” to highlight his role and significance to the company. Alas, the whole field force was suspicious of him and gave bad performance.

PERSONAL. My term as Rotary president is done. My signature project “Accelerated Learning Workshop (4 days) for Public School Teachers” is highly appreciated by the 700 teachers who have attended it. Therefore, I intend to continue this project and spread it all over the country. I need your help to sponsor teachers to the Workshop. We need our teachers to be competent, consistent and caring.

Moje, president of Paradigms & Paradoxes Corp, can be reached at

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