Can I Trust You?

In The Human Experience in the Digital Age I introduced a model I derived from the noble work of Chris Malone and Susan T. Fiske, authors of The Human Brand: How We Relate to People, Products, and Companies.

It’s a simple model (I love simple) that gets to the (human) heart of the matter. The degree to which People are drawn together is a function of Warmth and Competence. Both must be addressed to achieve and sustain a state of deep Trust. Malone and Fiske offer “we judge others almost instantly along two categories of social perception, warmth and competence. What are the intentions of other people toward me? (Warmth). How capable are they of carrying out those intentions? (Competence).”

Here's a great video by Chris Malone elaborating on this as well as a video by Susan Fiske.

Looking at the model, where would you place yourself and your organization interacting with business partners? Where would they place you?

How about internally within your organization of People working together? Where would you place them? Where would they place themselves?

Obviously, the target is the top right quadrant in the model, a state of high Competence and Warmth…and Trust!

Do you want your organization to be more agile and efficient? Do you want to deliver a positive Customer experience? Do you want to attract and retain highly Competent People? If so, build a Culture of Trust.

It is the precondition for frictionless collaboration of highly motivated, passionate, and Competent People.

It is the magnet that draws People together unlocking human creativity and collective accomplishment.

It Leans out the invisible social friction that drains organizational agility, speed, and efficiency. That invisible social friction that you can sense and feel when you walk through an organization, that also colors the emotional experience of your internal and external Customers and Business Partners.

I contend that most of our focus has been on Competence, and not enough on understanding Warmth. Both matter.

Think about it. Can I Trust you? Can I Trust your organization? Do People in your organization Trust one another?

You can do something about it. You can build a Culture of Trust.

Frank Wander

Frank Wander, a former CIO, is the founder and CEO of PeopleProductive (, and the author of Transforming IT Culture, How to Use Social Intelligence, Human Factors and Collaboration to Create an IT Department That Outperforms (Wiley, 2013). This unique book is the first operator’s manual for human infrastructure and will help you successfully transform your leadership style and organization.

PeopleProductive has taken that concept to the human side of the enterprise. We similarly help you find, measure and fix a broad spectrum of behavioral, emotional and enablement issues. For the first time, you can eliminate the inefficiency that holds highly productive people back and measurably increase productivity.

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