Trust – A Deficit We Can Overcome

Trust… Do we have it? Edleman’s is not a breakfast treat, although their data is quite substantial. It’s an organization that has been studying TRUST for over 20 years. Their latest report has some interesting data. You can download a full copy of the report here.

The report seems to beg the question: How do we restore the trust? Do we listen to Bucky, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” How do we go about building a new model?

In many households, the foundation of their lives are based in faith, hope and trust. Faith and hope are intrinsic to personal belief systems and religious communities that help mold and shape our world. Trust, on the other hand, is a two-fold perspective. It has internal and external components.

America is at a crossroads; more obvious as the political environment seems bereft of caring and serving people, creating a sustainable future and efforts at cleaning up the mess our negligence has created. Trust is built on competence and ethics.

The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals that despite a strong global economy and near full employment, none of the four societal institutions that the study measures—government, business, NGOs and media—is trusted. The cause of this paradox can be found in people’s fears about the future and their role in it, which are a wake-up call for our institutions to embrace a new way of effectively building trust: balancing competence with ethical behavior.

Building a New Model

Would a third party neutral, like an evolved Independent Party, be able to restore the trust that has been lost, or at least begin the journey? Unlikely, though with the intelligence, innovation and insights garnered by those who are likely to get involved in changing the future we still have a chance. Transparency was thought to be a new buzz word for the new millennium, and apparently it played out well. We can see the fallacy in all the ‘systems’ mentioned.

Senge and Scharmer have developed a program with MIT and the Presencing Institute that addresses the challenges and offers solutions through the philosophy of U-Theory. Some of their early coursework focused on Transforming Business, Society and Self and had over 32,000 students worldwide. Both Senge and Scharmer work with multi-national companies to shift their way of doing business.

No doubt they are not the only ones working on transforming our working groups; corporations, governments, institutions, media et al. Conversations are strained as old paradigms continue to impact the way many of our leaders think today. Some would say America’s leadership is a mockery of political activity that is supposed to be serving the people. Comes a time when we all have to say, “ENOUGH!”

How much is enough? Seems we all have different thresholds of pain, stupidity and suffering. That really isn’t enough, though. The book from Dov Seidman, HOW: Why HOW We Do Anything Means Everything, says it all in the title. It becomes a matter of how we think, first, and then how we go about doing; actions are all-important.

Certain needs in our society only have one solution that’s best for everyone. Often the sense of loss of identity or freedom impacts the thinking with unsubstantiated fears. Those fears are deal-breakers, regardless of their reality. Conversations can resolve just about anything when they are facilitated well, a third-party neutral who guides the process and keeps everyone civil. Most public meetings retain some decorum, though occasional shoes are thrown.

Is there a path to paradise? There’s probably a better paved one to somewhere else. It is understatement to even consider the path ahead to be an easy one, yet we do not seem to have a choice in learning how to get along and better manage our communities and resources. Whether climate change is real or not, we’ve polluted our planet and have no real sustainable future without current activities being drastically changed. There is hope. We can learn to work together constructively for change.


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