ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

August 1998 / Special Feature : An Issue Of Trust

An Issue Of Trust

In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash

All You Ever Really Need To Know About Trust You Learned In Kindergarten

Furnishing Trust And Empowerment

Eight Organizational Strategies That Build Trust

Trust In Whom

by Peter Block
Trust Columns
John Schuster

Cliff Bolster
Joel Henning
Dan Oestreich
Felicia Seaton-Williams
Trust Interviews
Trapeze Artist
Emergency Room Physician

Air Traffic Controller
Police Officer
Park Ranger


Brief Cases
Business News Briefs

Book Review


The Call Of The Wild
A Park Ranger's Guide for Trust

Picture a 90 mile stretch of desolate road. Fifteen miles in, cars are stopped and buses are loaded. As the only authority figure in this particular area of the six million acre park, Kristy Nicolaus is responsible for assisting the many people that visit Denali National Park in Anchorage, Ala., each year. She is currently the park’s check station supervisor. Nicolaus has also worked as a naturalist at Mt. Rushmore National Park in Keystone, S.D., and as an interpreter at Mt. Rainier National Park in Ashford, Wash.

How does trust apply to your profession?
Basically, the uniform says enough. Visitors know that they can approach me. The whole image we portray as park rangers has to signify that. Because visitors don’t know us and have never met us, their first impression of us should be that of a trustworthy, capable person.

Without trust, what situations/consequences would you face?
I wouldn’t be able to do my job properly, nor could anyone in this profession if visitors didn’t view us as trustworthy. Especially in medical emergencies it would be very difficult to help people, if they didn’t first trust me. For example, when I’m giving my talks before going on a hike in the park I have to relay important safety information to the visitors. If they don’t trust me, it is worthless for them to pay attention and they could potentially put themselves in a dangerous situation.

How do you build trust?
Through communication and interaction. When I am talking with visitors and guests at the park I appear confident and knowledgeable to show them I can be trusted.

Can you repair trust? If so, how?
Yes. Trust can be proven through actions. It is a difficult situation when visitors don’t trust me. For example, before we go on any hike or walk through the park, I explain to visitors the safety precautions and what to do in the event that they encounter a bear or wild animal. I explain that the best thing for them to do is to “play dead.” Of course, someone’s first reaction is to yell and wave their hands in this situation, but I have to trust that they trust me and will do what I say so that no one gets hurt.

August '98 News for a Change | Email Editor

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