Trust – it’s complicated

The Pattern Integrity of the word Trust comes from the word deru – be firm, solid, steadfast, like a tree or wood. Something upon which others rely.

Deru is the same root for the word truth.

Trust, integrity and truth. All interwoven. 

Integrity – to hold the shape. Wholeness. From integer – one. If I could pick one word to describe the Pattern Integrity of my life it would be Integrity. To be in integrity. To work with integrity. To partner in integrity. To speak and act with integrity. Integrity to myself first, then to others, and to the future and our home planet.

To be in integrity, to act with integrity, builds trust. When my words are my deeds, when there is no separation between my actions and my values, trust is built. 

Consistency + time + transparency builds trust.

Why trust creates the field for the greatest exponential technology available

Synergy is the greatest technology available. The human mind working together synergistically, where one person plus another person plus another person might equal the alchemical intelligence, ability and creativity of a million people. Synergy is non-linear, analogue, surprising, unpredictable. 

The behaviour of the whole (the collective or the enterprise, for example) cannot be predicted by an examination of the parts (or people) separately. No amount of examination of a caterpillar can predict a butterfly. 

Ecologies where synergy is a normal occurrence are deliberately designed. 

In Syntropic World we are interested in deliberately designing ecologies for synergy in all Syntropic Enterprises. 

Imagine this. You have a place where people work collaboratively together, where diversity of opinion lives in a field of mutual respect and trust, where robust debate and difference of opinion are both encouraged and given the place to be fully heard, where polarity and natural tension is built in by design…not too much positive, not too much negative…that kind of tension…AND you have a problem to solve, or an idea to birth. When people feel safe enough to express their opinion, when we do not shame or ridicule ideas and difference, when there is a space for deep listening and consideration, where we know absolutely that we are supported to be fully us in this ecology yet also not given permission to be an arsehole, the solution will be exponentially greater, in other words synergistic, to any solution we might have imagined at the start or on our own.

Having designed and built ecologies for synergy I know the incredible power and asset they are. Everyone, even the actors with the smallest parts, contributes and are recognised for their contribution.

I am convinced that ecologies of synergy –  small islands of coherence in a chaotic world – can solve any problem we humans have created.

How do we create ecologies of trust that enable synergy?

I have been exploring exactly this for most of my life. How do we design spaces and places and enterprises where people can bring their whole selves in generosity to the LOVE work we are doing together and not be exploited and extracted from. Not colonised. 

Here are some of the components I have learned are essential to designing ecologies of trust.

  1. The leader needs to be an exemplar of trust and integrity. They need to be their word. Do their word. Be reliable. Accountable. Approachable. Everything they say and do, even when no one is looking, is consistent, aligned, steeped in the values they espouse. If they ere, they take responsibility and course correct with grace, digesting the learning as they move forward. They lead via demonstration. Do we need more truth telling? They tell the truth first. Do we need more vulnerability? They are vulnerable first. Do we need more courage? They are courageous first. Do we need to be better listeners? They listen better than anyone. They lead by example, time and again.
  2. There needs to be a clear threshold crossing, a boundary between observer/supporter of the enterprise and active participant. This threshold crossing is thoughtfully and deliberately created and holds within it the Pattern Integrity to create ecologies for trust. In Syntropic World this is the Trust Manifesto. It is a combination of code of conduct, enterprise agreement and governance document. People who choose to cross the threshold to become active participants need to agree to the Trust Manifesto. It includes elements like…our purpose, our values, how we treat each other, how we manage upset and conflict, how we make decisions, how we honour and value contribution, how we maintain our own integrity, the principles we hold as inviolate. It is not a long document. Nor is it a static document, rather it needs to adapt to changes in both the interior ecology of the enterprise as well as the exterior ecology in which our enterprise exists.
  3. The threshold crossing experience requires some level of individual investment – be that time, energy, commitment – not dissimilar to a rite of passage. In Syntropic World we ask people to complete the Synergistic Audit, answering the question – what do you have the capacity, willingness and desire to bring to this enterprise in 6 domains, and for that contribution what do you expect in return, also in the same 6 domains. Like a rite of passage, completing the audit gives people status and access, available to anyone who completes the audit. Many people find the audit a challenge, either because they have difficulty expressing their value, or have difficulty asking for their value to be honoured OR they feel vulnerable sharing their truth.
  4. Within the context of the enterprise on the other side of the threshold crossing we live the agreements and values written in the Trust Manifesto every day, consistently. If we fall down, we are supported to get back up, to learn, to see ourselves reflected. There is safety of feedback and support.
  5. Reflection, support, development and personal growth in our interiors and exteriors, as individuals and the collective, are built-in to the Trust Manifesto and our daily expression of it, by design. We get to become better humans, better teams, better enterprises, as we steward and birth our enterprise purpose.
  6. The enterprise architecture, The Trust Manifesto, has an autopoietic design element. In other words, we steward its adaptation and emergence as the interior and exterior context changes. It is not a fixed, rigid structure. It is alive and dynamic, just like a cell membrane. This adaptability is influenced by attunement to the interior and exterior ecologies in which the enterprise exists. The time, place, geopolitics, global and local forces all must be taken into account.

Choices we can make around Trust

Business-as-usual lives in a net of legal codes. If you desire to understand just how powerfully legal codes privilege wealth accumulation, power asymmetries, inequality and exploitation, then please read Katharina Pistor, The Code of Capital – how law creates wealth and inequality.

I am not against legal codes. I am against the deployment of legal codes as a complete replacement for trust.

As I wrote in Sunday Syntropy last week, we need to reanimate the governance and human codes of community, family and civics, where we hold each other to account and are held to account without the requirement of legal codes or state policing. 

If you get into to shark tank, you better be a shark! I prefer to not do business with sharks, if I can avoid it.

If I truly trust myself, trust my own word, do I surround myself with people who have chosen the same codes of trust for themselves and others? 

Can we make agreements with each other, taking the time to explore, consider, poke, challenge, check and pull at all assumptions… investing in the QUALITY of the relationship as primary, and then hold our shared agreement in trust, as a daily act? 

A daily conversation. Daily Clean Communication. Daily communion.

This…rather than lives and enterprises entangled in layers of legal code? 

There is always a risk. However, even with the best legal code money can buy there is a risk. 

Interestingly, money is built 100% on trust. When we do not trust the currency, it loses all value. 

Do we trust the currency of the relationship? Have we invested in that? In our own self trust. In our ability to be our word AND speak our word. To speak UP when exploited. To speak UP when others are exploited? Do we trust the values and demonstration of the person we are in relationship with?

Do we trust ourselves?

I choose to invest in the relationships of trust rather than the lawyers and layers of distrust. No guarantees. Every now and again likely to be shark bait. But the cost/benefit, when considered in multiple domains…priceless. 

Worth every second of invested effort. 

Relationships first. Built trust. Be integrity. Practice trust, integrity, truth telling every day. Be in relationship. Be in communion.

This is to create a Syntropic Enterprise.