Create a culture of trust

January 23, 2023
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January 23, 2023

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"Measuring trust can be a subjective task, but the Trust Equation, developed by experts David H. Maister and Charles Green, offers a tangible method for determining levels of trust. The equation states that trust is the result of credibility, reliability, and intimacy, divided by self-orientation. This equation provides a clear framework for understanding and evaluating trust in any situation.

The Trust Equation as put by them is as follows:

Trust = (Credibility + Reliability + Intimacy) / Self-Orientation, where 

  • Credibility is the actual capability, competence or credentials to do a job or undertake an assignment
  • Reliability is the ability to take ownership for the end outcome of the task or responsibility entrusted to a person
  • Intimacy is the level of personal relationship that one has invested or developed in the other person. 
  • Self-Orientation is the amount of importance that one gives to his/her own interest in the relationship. The lower the emphasis on self-interests/concerns (or higher focus on the other person’s interests/concerns), the greater the Trust. Ideally if a person is truly altruistic (zero or very low self-interest), then the Trust would be infinite. (Anything divided by zero is infinity)
A Paradigm Shift in measuring TRUST

"Years ago, while attending a session led by David H. Maister and his team in the US, I discovered that the Trust Equation, while based on sound research, could be improved upon in two key areas.

First, I found that the addition sign in the original equation should be replaced with a multiplication sign, as trust cannot exist if any of the attributes - credibility, reliability, and intimacy - are missing. In the original equation, even if one attribute is missing, trust would still be present, but with the multiplication sign, if any attribute is missing, trust would be non-existent.

Second, I realized that the equation should also include the attribute of honesty. Without honesty, even if a person or organization has high credibility, reliability, and intimacy, trust would still be lacking. Examples of this can be found in both personal and professional settings, such as a highly qualified doctor who is not truthful about a patient's illness, or a trustworthy EV manufacturer who does not disclose all the drawbacks of their product.

Therefore, I propose the revised Trust equation as follows: Credibility x Honesty x Reliability x Intimacy / Self-Orientation = Trust."

 In the EV Industry now, it is all the more important for a leader to build Trust with all the three stakeholders 1. Employees, 2. Customers/Vendors and 3. Investors. Off late we are seeing quite a few companies who are blindly going after valuation without their leaders generating Value to the key stakeholders.

As we begin the new year, let us as leaders focus on generating the three key value Propositions:

  1. Employee Value Proposition, so that our company will be the Employer of Choice
  2. Customer Value Proposition, so that our company will be the Vendor of Choice
  3. Investor Value Proposition, so that our company will be the Investment of Choice

When we work on increasing all the four attributes: 

Credibility: Credentials, capability and certifications in the EV Industry

Honesty: Being Transparent and Direct with our Stakeholders

Reliability: Of our Products and Services (Lives are at stake in the EV industry!)

Intimacy: Being close to all our Stakeholders and listening to their voice.

and simultaneously reducing 

Self-Orientation: One sided focus on our Profits, market share, Valuation 

We will definitely lead to greater Trust and thus generate Value for all!

Creating a culture of trust takes time and effort, but the payoff is worth it. By consistently implementing strategies to foster trust, we can improve our company's internal processes, increase cohesion among employees, suppliers, and customers, and ultimately become a trusted organization that moves forward with a unified purpose.

Anand Pillai is an industry veteran, a Leadership Coach and Organization Transformation Guru whose career of almost 40 years spans across IT & services, Manufacturing and in Leadership & Organization 

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EVStory team is group of well seasoned journalists from the e-mobility segment with rich experience in the auto industry.

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