Trust is a Two-Way Street

trust_puplejavatrollWe know, or should know, that it takes two to tango and that trust does not work in a vacuum—this is true in our personal lives and in our business relationships.

I’m thinking about this necessary duality of trust because if trust occurs only on one side of the coin, then that’s just a large dose of naiveté.

In fact, trust as a two-way street is illustrated perfectly in the Swedish word for trust —

In the Vested blog series on Getting to We, the essential first step in the process of establishing a What’s in it for We (WIIFWe) mindset is to lay a solid foundation of trust, transparency and compatibility.

Trust is the sine qua non. The Nobel laureate economist Kenneth Arrow noted: “Virtually every commercial transaction has within itself an element of trust, certainly any transaction conducted over a period of time.”

 The absence of trust becomes a hurdle that’s too high to overcome.

Unfortunately, far too many business relationships lack a trusting foundation. Trust enables collaboration in two important ways: First, a trusting relationship will unleash the power of innovation and creativity. And as trust levels increase, parties don’t need to look constantly over their shoulders. Once partners are less cautious about each other, they can spend their time and energy more wisely in the pursuit of more creative and productive endeavors.

Second, trust decreases transaction costs. Transaction costs entail the costs associated with using the “market” to produce something for your company and can come in the form of deciding where to buy a good or service instead of making or performing the service yourself. Trust makes sure the benefits of cooperation exceed the benefits of going to the market to get a better deal.

In other words,


Yes, sometimes it takes one party to take a bold first step, to show that it wants a trusting relationship.

But with tillit—the way it starts out returns the favor in the end.

Image: Trust by purplejavatroll via Flickr cc

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