Color & Control:

The Trust Equation 1.0


Here is another interesting article from Jack over at Network Weaving:

“This is a 1.0 version of a formula for measuring trust in relationships. It’s intended to use a formula for assessing the complex and intangible dynamic of trust.

It basically says that trust is the multiplication of weighted expectations and delivery on expectations, divided by the multiplication of expectation clarity and usefulness of feedback. It’s actually based on intensive work I’ve done recently in client organizations on trust building between individuals, managers and departments.

And here’s the process:

1. In the case of trust between two people, each person lists their 5 top expectations of each other in categories including what they depend on from each other in the areas of information, help, and outcomes. Then for each, they identify on a 1-5 scale (low-high) how important each expectation is to them – this creates a list of weighted expectations. These scores are added for a total weighted expectation score.

2. Then each person assesses how well (again on the 1-5 scale) the other usually delivers on each of these expectations. The scores are totalled for a delivery score. The two numerator scores are then multiplied for a total top number.

3. Then the other person creates the denominator number. If I’m assessing June’s performance against my weighted expectations for the numerator of the equation, June is doing the denominator. She assesses on the 1-5 scale how clearly I usually communicate each of these top 5 expectations. Then she assesses on the 1-5 scale, the usefulness of feedback she usually gets from me on her delivery on these expectations. Then these two figures are added for a total and multiplied for my denominator score. I do the same for her denominator score.

4. Then the differences are calculated for a total trust score.

So now we get have a conversation about questions like:

Is there an “ideal” score range?
Are there other variables the formula needs to consider?
If the point of the process is the conversation, how are results best interpreted?


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