The speed of trust

I’m writing these lines on my phone while sitting on a park bench in a city I’ve never been in. It’s almost 8 a.m. and everywhere people are jogging or making their way to work. The sun is warm. I can hear bird songs and train horns.

Part of me is on alert because I’ve never been here before. That’s my lizard brain acting up. My rational brain is analyzing all these inputs and telling me there’s nothing to worry about.

As human beings, we have evolved to the extent we’ve correctly assessed who and what could be trusted. Trusting too much can be dangerous. Trusting no one can be even more dangerous. There is a sweet spot that can make all the difference.

Later today I will hear from Stephen M. R. Covey, an expert on trust. I just finished his book and I highly recommend it. It reminded me that trust is everywhere, in every interaction. It’s so embedded in our societal fabric that we don’t even see it.

Until it’s gone.

Ethics & compliance professionals tend to work in low-trust environments. As such, we risk creating a downward spiral where each breach of trust is met with ever-increasing controls. As Mr. Covey explains, these controls only increase our costs and slow us down. Not a good strategy in this fast-moving world.

I look forward to Mr. Covey’s remarks later today. I will report back tomorrow.

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