“Trust arrives on foot but leaves on horseback”

… or so the Dutch saying goes.  Since the global financial crisis, research shows that trust in both government and business has been seriously damaged – galloping off into the sunset, perhaps!Cowboy swinging rope on horse in water

Can trust which has been lost be repaired?

Recent research by Cass Business School and the CIPD into the repair and maintenance of trust in organisations, suggests it can – and it starts with a good old fashioned verbal apology.

The research is starting to answer some essential questions:

–          what are the benefits of trust in organisations?

–          how do we build, maintain and repair trust once it’s broken?

I would like to share some of the key findings with you over a few Blogs.

What does this current breach of trust mean for organisations?  Does trust matter?  Or should we be focusing on perhaps more enticing ‘hot topics’ such as innovation, collaboration and change?  Is focusing on trust going to ignite new possibilities and support growth, change and purpose in the workplace?

This latest research concludes with a resounding YES.

Let’s start with the basics.  What is trust?  For me, it’s about sustaining relationships in the face of uncertainty, or to quote Denise Rousseau:

“the intention to accept vulnerability based upon positive expectations of the intentions or behaviour of another”

Individuals and organisations are feeling increasingly vulnerable in the face of such widespread uncertainty, volatility and change – and yet times of uncertainty are exactly when trust becomes more critical.

Trust is universal: the foundation of human relationships.  It enables society itself to exist.  But when I ask HR professionals if trust is one of their organisation’s core values or perhaps a quality measured or developed in their leaders, the answer is frequently, alarmingly:

“No, but trust is everything.  Nothing works without trust”.

The benefits of high levels of trust in organisations are compelling….

  • People find it easier to embrace organisational change
  • People are more likely to innovate and share knowledge
  • Decreased operational costs (managers spend less time monitoring their people)
  • Higher motivation and more positive attitudes
  • Successful co-operation and teamwork.

So it seems trust is a critically important enabler of innovation, change, engagement and collaboration – and if these are needed to return our economy to growth, then we are going to need insights into current trust levels, and how to foster a climate that supports trust to reap these substantial rewards.

Next blog : how to build trust – insights from ‘Where has all the Trust Gone?’ Cass Business School and CIPD research 2012.

Juliet Day

Juliet Day

Juliet Day coaches and consults in UK organisations.  “I’m passionate about working with individuals and organisations to discover their true purpose, live, learn and lead with a positive impact in the world. I’m a business psychologist and have been specialising in talent, assessment and leadership development for 12 years.” julietdaye@gmail.com.

I first met Juliet when she commissioned a Musikscool event for the Finance team at HMV some 10 years ago.

This is the first time I have hosted an article from someone else;  I hope you appreciate a different style and content from the usual drivel you get from me.  If you’d like to write an article on something you feel passionate about, please get in touch:


© Poulsons Photography – Fotolia.com

About Michael Brown Training

I'm a business skills trainer, facilitator and coach. I've been helping people to learn for 16 years, working all around the world on topics such as Negotiation, Conflict Handling, Sales, Leadership, Consulting and Personal Effectiveness. I'm an ENFP, constantly looking for new and inspiring things to do. I love my job for its variety and the stimulation I get from it, and spend most of my time seeing how far we can go with the subjects we work on in the training room. I've recently started a new venture in making video on how NOT to do things, which you can find at www.hownot2.com
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9 Responses to “Trust arrives on foot but leaves on horseback”

  1. Pingback: Trust arrives on foot but leaves on horseback -

  2. Angela says:

    Excellent article Michael, with some very practical tips – amazing how many companies / leaders still can’t say sorry, when they’ve damaged the trust relationship!


  3. Jengiz Gocer says:

    Oh! Finally I discovered i can write here:))
    OK, lets see if this will come through properly???
    Now i trust the man made systems and technology more.


  4. greatorpoor says:

    Suggest the definitive book on this subject is ‘the speed of trust’ by Covey. junior


  5. Bilal Javed says:

    Is there yet a way to measure trust? Like we can measure productivity, efficiency.


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