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


Felicia Seaton-Williams on Trust

“Trust is obvious to people,” says Dr. Felicia Seaton -Williams sitting perfectly straight in her chair. “It either exists or it doesn’t. People are able to feel it very strongly, but when it comes to verbalizing it, that’s another story.”

Trust gives us a connection to other human beings and it is that connection which allows people to feel comfortable with vulnerability. Often when a person feels disconnected from others, it is a symptom of the lack of trust which permeates his/her life. Ultimately, trust should be “the extent to which there is confidence and willingness of others to act on the basis of words, actions and decisions and to allow oneself to be vulnerable to the actions of another.”

Trust can even be regained or repaired if the lines of communication remain open. Human beings have to be willing to sit down at the table and say quite directly, “Look, this is what’s going on with me, what are you feeling, do you understand this.”

Seaton-Williams has researched organizational effectiveness and restructuring over the past five years at Wayne State University and has found in team and quality-oriented settings, that trust is a major factor influencing communication. “It determines whether a team will be successful in their quality product development and product design processes. We can classify different organizations by the power balance of their work groups. Through our work we have really been able to understand the complex dynamics and how they play out in terms of performance outcomes.”

There is a different idea of trust in today’s organizations. Beginning in the 1990s, people no longer rely on the “one job for a lifetime” rationale which provided a great deal of trust in the employer. It has shifted to a “profession-oriented trust.” There is the notion that people are going to make several job changes over their lifetime and they want to build a professional tool kit. The focus has become, “Tell me where you have my self-interest involved and where you don’t.” They want the trust to be built around all of the learning and growth opportunities the company will provide to add to their tool kit, and around how the organization will receive what they have to contribute.
Love and honesty are the paths that need to be followed to build trusting relationships. “As a psychologist, I have found that at the bottom line, people really want to be loved. Love and honesty feed each other.” And honesty creates trust; not simply just saying what you feel a loved one wants to hear. “Let people make their decisions based on that honesty, trust will grow, love will be experienced.”

August '98 News for a Change | Email Editor
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