Put the Bias on Trust

Seth Godin, who as you know by now is one of my favorite “go-to” writers and bloggers, talks about having a “bias for trust” based on two truths.

This first is that we shouldn’t “waste time” initiating relationships “that are not going to thrive and benefit both sides,” he says. Exactly! You don’t get to a win-win relationship without extensive preparation—the parties need to collaborate to determine the precise nature of their enterprise, their intentions for it, their expected outcomes and how they will together create, share and expand value.

Godin’s second point is that “productive connection requires mutual trust. You can’t empathize with someone you don’t trust.” Again, spot on! If there is no empathy between partners, trust, the relationship will wither, preventing the full flowering of a long-term collaborative relationship.Trust without empathy is hard to envision.

For me trust and empathy are perennials, not annuals – to keep the garden analogy going!

Godin puts it this way: “If you enter an engagement filled with wariness, alert for the scam, the inauthentic and the selfish, you’ll poison the relationship before it even starts. Those you deal with won’t be challenged to rise to your expectations of excitement and goodwill. Instead, they’ll struggle in the face of your skepticism.” How often have you seen just that kind of dynamic in contract negotiations – Vested directs us along a more responsive, authentic and open path.

When trust is embedded in the business relationship, collaboration, innovation and value creation and expansion is enabled. Trust is an essential guiding principle in the Vested movement. It is a foundation and a building block, because once trust is established in a real and ongoing framework—the partnership takes off for the long-term win-win.

“An open mind and an open heart usually lead to precisely that in those that you are about to deal with,” Godin concludes. “Perhaps we should give people a chance to live up to our trust instead of looking for the gotcha.”

I can’t say it any better.

And for all you naysayers out there, at least start with trust – and then verify as Ronald Reagan famously said.


  1. Another view on the value of Trust comes from Stephen M R Covey (2007) (son of Stephen R Covey author of the “7 Habits” series of books) he has written a book called “The Speed of Trust” which proposes that trusting relationships are better because they are able to get things done faster. This is because they don’t need to spend time on second guessing, checking up and seeking protection from risk of exploitation by the other party. All the effort can be put into reaching the objective of the relationship.

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