Trust Inc: A book review by Bob Morris

Trust IncTrust Inc: Strategies for Building Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset
Barbara Brooks Kimmel, Editor
Next Decade, Inc. (2014)

How and why a high trust culture is one within which personal growth and professional development are most likely to thrive

Curious, I checked the etymology for the word “incorporated” and learned that it means “united in one body.” Most people think of it in terms of a business but Barbara Brooks Himmel extends her perspective to include any human community and suggests that the agent for establishing and then sustaining one is mutual trust. Although she doesn’t use the term in her book, presumably she views trust – as many people do — as an adhesive, a “glue.” She is the editor of and among the 36 contributors to a collection of essays that examine any organization’s “most valuable asset.”

More specifically, these are among the subjects addressed:

o Why trust is imperative, Kimmel and Charles H. Green (Pages 13-23)
o The defining characteristics of a trustworthy organization, Peter Firestein (25-30)
o Trust: The Uncommon Denominator In an Uncommon Business World, Jeff Thomsen (49-54)
o Trust: The Great Economic Game Changer, Robert Porter Lynch (71-80)
o The ABCs of Leading with Trust, Randy Conley (91-96)
o Leading from the heart, Lolly Daskal (103-107)
o The Four Cs of Trust, John Spence (123-126)
o How stewards build trust, Bob and Greg Vanourek (129-135)
o How to strengthen trust behaviors, William Benner (139-144)
o How to build “trust muscles,” Mary C. Gentile (147-151)
o Never take trust for granted, James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner (153-158)
o Five Strategies to Maximize the Power of Trust, Patricia Aburdene (177-183)
o How brave leadership increases trust, Ben Boyd (213-215)
o Creating a Positive Deviance of Trust, Robert Easton (243-245)

Note the pagination. It correctly indicates that the essays are brief but, I hasten to add, remarkably substantial. Check the table of contents to learn which other subjects are also covered. This volume offers a wealth of information, insights, and counsel with an emphasis on HOW specifically trust can help to establish and then sustain a community that exemplifies the vision of St. Paul: many parts, one body. Ancient Rome provides us with a sectarian perspective and a new nation’s motto, “E pluribus unum”: out of many, one.

In the Conclusion, Robert Easton suggests that there are two enduring themes developed throughout this volume’s narrative. “The first is that for one to get trust, one needs top give trust. Leaders must ‘lead’ first by being trustworthy and also by reaching out with trust. The second key theme is that trust is an enabler of transformation and change, precisely because it is an agent of positivity. Trust is a necessary condition for individuals, organizations, and communities to flourish.” I agree. I also presume to suggest a third, perhaps implicit theme that, in my opinion, is essential to the personal growth and professional development of those who comprise a human community, whatever its size and nature may be. I refer to trust in one’s self and in one’s as yet unfulfilled potentialities. Once again, I am reminded of an African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.”

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