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  • Melinda Lackey

The Power of Trust

In working with organizations of all sizes, missions and cultures, we often discover an opportunity to build trust. SEED may be invited to design an evaluation plan, create a new data base, or lead a strategic planning process. Any number of technical fixes may be presented as the need. However, when we really listen to what’s “in the room,” the crux of the issue is a lack of mutual trust. So we like to start there. As Jeffrey Pfeffer has said:

“It is almost impossible to implement high performance work practices in the absence of mutual trust and respect.”

Just what is trust and how can we develop it?

Trust is an emotion.

Trust is an opinion.

Trust is a skill.

All true, and here's the good news: trust can be developed —assuming there is a will to do so.

The will is essential, of course. All parties have to have hope and a desire to improve the relationship.

Essentially, to be in relationship and achieve common goals we need each other to be sincere, competent and reliable. Above all, we need to deliver on our promises to each other. If a commitment cannot be met, we need to alert others in advance and negotiate a new agreement.

With ability to establish shared understanding and shared agreements, all things are possible. The key is to live from agreement to agreement and fulfill our promises.

In organizations, when trust is high it is easy to coordinate action. When trust is low, everything is difficult and much more time-consuming than it needs to be. People give up and withdraw. This makes organizations less effective. ​​

PRACTICE. Give your organization a gift this season. We recommend the gift of a new practice of trust-building.

If you have interest to try a new practice, email We will be delighted to schedule a webinar and offer some basic practices that you can share in your organization.

It is a deep form of love to offer others your utmost respect. In turn, it is equally loving and a demonstration of integrity to do what you say you are going to do, with consistency. While honoring the people you care about, you will also be building their trust in you.

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