Part Two: What is Trust

  1. Customers
  2. Employees
  3. Senior Leadership Team
  4. Vendors
  5. Strategic Partners
  6. Investors, and their
  7. Communities
  1. It crosses a number of academic disciplines (e.g., neuroscience, biology, sociology, history, economics, finance, organizational behavior, psychology, and more).
  2. It’s complicated and challenging to measure at individual, team, department, inter-department, organizational and societal levels.
  3. It’s something we are still understanding better and better and the consequence of which we are building both a consensus and shared language around what trust is, how to measure it, and how to build and sustain it.
  4. It takes a tremendous amount of work and Work to build it and keep it (kind of like staying healthy), and the Work is never finished.
  5. A lot of our leaders are Low Trust People (LTPs) and we’re embarrassed and overly accepting of LTP, LTCs and Low Trust Leaders (LTLs).
  6. It implies that there is a hierarchy associated with levels of trust and hierarchical thinking, and hierarchy-based systems are not politically correct (coming in a future essay).
  7. It requires longer-term thinking and the vast majority of people are shorter-term focused (also coming in a future essay).
  8. Bad faith actors seem to get away with proverbial murder (so if they can, why can’t we?).
  9. Many so-called “elites” don’t believe we can collectively handle the truth.
  10. Many believe the ends justify the means.
  11. Many believe life is best played with a win-lose mentality.
  12. Many people like having an enemy.
  13. Way too many people are playing finite, short-term games.
  14. Many people don’t like to see their enemies win or give them credit for anything, even if they agreed or believe their competitor did the right thing.
  15. Technology is banging away at the organizational / economic / business models of a broad array of our institutions (like government, education, media) and those highly vested in the status quo deeply believe in their institutions and are afraid of the changes to come.

What is Trust?

The Biology of Trust

Trust, Purpose and Joy

Character-Based Trust

Competency-Based Trust

Connection-Based Trust


It is very important that we understand that not only are there three dimensions of trust, but that one is “earned” (competency), one is “lost” (character) and one is “developed” (connections).

Executive Summary

Action Items

About the Author




Mark Abbott, founder and visionary at, is a sought-after business leader, writer and executive team coach. Follow him at

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Mark Abbott

Mark Abbott

Mark Abbott, founder and visionary at, is a sought-after business leader, writer and executive team coach. Follow him at

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