Trust is rising on the enterprise agenda. It’s because traditional, 20th Century levers of command, control and consequence are waning. Social business depends on trust.

Last century’s management tools like directives, decrees, orders, edicts, fiat, and so on and so forth, are out, way out. Today’s enterprise leadership is based on presence, authenticity and above all, trust.

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Sadly, there are a lot of sanctimonious platitudes concerning trust. Trust clichés abound. It is important to set your trust guidance system. 

First, trust is simply the willingness to be vulnerable. Humans have a natural bias to trust.Trust is controlled by organic brain chemistry. It is regulated by a neuromodulator called oxytocin.

Trust is emergent property. Most people don’t understand emergence. Fact is, in short, expanding productive organizational emergence and trust depend mostly on getting out of the way. Allow the natural human bias towards emergence and trust to lead. To achieve trust and prosperity relinquish control.

Trust is akin to the Invisible Hand. Enlightened self-interest and individual gains drives network and organizational prosperity.

A recent poll of enterprise executives asked, “What keeps you up at night?” The Number One response was, “managing complexity.”

There are two problems here. The executives really mean complicatedness not complexity. To managers organizations are complicated; to leaders organizations are complex. Second complexity cannot be managed, only served. Complexity terrifies managers; complexity thrills leaders. Complexity is a major advantage!

From the tactical and practical perspective, organizational trust is shaped best by less control. Less is more. Advantages of complexity and trust are propelled by brief organizational narratives, constitutions and a focus on context. Leaders must focus on relevance not control. For the most part, retire what you learned in management school. It doesn’t work for social business.

Note: With 70% of the workforce disengaged (Gallup), there is a lot of work not to be done to nurture trust!

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Enterprise Constitutions are how to master trust emergence and business prosperity. Why? Because they specifically limit the reach and interference of governance, management and control. This, in turn, propels trust and self-determination.

Meanwhile, all the current management platitudes like openness, transparency, diversity are simply meaningless to authentic trust networks. Forgetaboutit!

Fact is, if “openness, transparency, diversity” will aid and abet the self-interest of network actors it will be omnipresent. Otherwise it won’t. Don’t fret. Using management bromides and silly chestnuts is a harmful form of insidious control. Control kills emergence, thus trust. Beware.

Again, trust is a natural human bias, regulated by a neuromodulator. Humans are clever. Left alone we are disposed to individual, self-interested gains (like learning). These gains benefit the whole. That’s the essence of organizational prosperity vis–à–vis trust networks.

Remember, empathy is innovation. Networks are revealed, never created. Culture is served, never prescribed. Lead by example, never mandate.


Colabria Action Research

Colabria EET

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