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Without Trust,
Life is Not Worth Living

-- Confucius

Trusted to Lead ®

Building a World
You Can Trust

System of Trust, LLC presents Trusted to Lead Workshops for Executives & Managers who want to create an extraordinary difference

Why Trusted to Lead & its “Architecture of Trust” is considered a Breakthrough

Excerpted from the forthcoming book “Trusted to Lead” by Paul R. Lawrence and Robert Porter Lynch

Lack of Systems Architecture:

The primary reason why trust has been trapped inside platitudes, aphorisms, slogans, and stories is because previous authorities have come from one of five points of view:

    • Strategy & Realism: This is the realm of the situational and competitively advantageous. On one side, authors from this point of view, such as Sun Tzu, Machiavelli and Nietzsche, have traditionally mapped out methodologies on how to exist in an unsafe and untrustworthy world, and how to protect oneself from the dangers of evil. Many lawyers today would take this approach. Some modern researchers have approached trust from the perspective of cooperative or competitive game theory.On the other side, some authors have taken the opposite point of view, extolling the virtues of trust, maintaining that the value of trust far outweighs the downside risks. 
    • Morality & Idealism: In this arena are those who are firm advocates of ethics, values, and the philosophy of morality. Plato and Aristotle began the ethical debate 2300 years ago; this tradition has had a long list of highly renowned and diverse advocates, including Buddha, Christ, Thomas Aquinas, Ayn Rand, and Jean Paul Sartre, to name just a few. This perspective is founded on the belief that a morality and ethical values will produce principled decision-making and ensure righteous action.
    • Psychological & Interpersonal: In this the sphere are those who focus on the personal or social interactions of people and community. At the center of this inquiry is the examination of how people act, interact, and react with each other and the influence of culture on those relationships. Psychologists such as Jung, Freud, and Erickson are prominent names from the recent past. Sociologists and organizational behaviorists study family, team, and community interrelationships, examining stratification of hierarchies, conflicts among social structures, and the impact of leadership, government and religion, among a wide range of issues.
    • Economic & Efficiency: Thanks to a serious misreading of both Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations and Charles Darwin’s theories of evolution, most economists have constructed an erroneous theory that human beings act strictly according maximizing return on investment, and the “invisible hand” of self-interest, working underneath all financial transactions creates a powerful capitalistic economy. Upon careful review of the assumptions behind the economic model, major flaw become evident, and the economics of value creation and wealth are impacted massively, depending upon whether trust goes positive or negative.
    • Neurological & Scientific: The scientific profession, (particularly those who study the neurophysiology and functioning of the human brain as well as other primates, mammals, and reptiles) is focused on how the brain actually processes experience, and how its evolution has created unique varieties of human behavior. Darwin is the acknowledged pioneer in this realm, with studies being conducted in major universities and medical schools worldwide.

After an extensive search through the literature from these five realms of thought, we found a surprising lack of attention to the issue of trust. In our research we found a myriad of anecdotal citations, like: “Trust is essential to success,” or “without trust, the leader will not unify the organization,” and so forth, without ever delving into the details if how it was actually created or destroyed.

While trust is certainly one of the most important factors in the effective functioning of human relationships, it has never been claimed by any realm of professional discipline. Perhaps this is because trust spans all the realms, so it has never come into the domain of any of them. For example, we queried several licensed psychologists with the question: “What type of therapeutic methodology works best with patients?” Their answers were all similar, explaining that no particular therapy worked better than another, it was all really dependent upon the level of trust they had with their patients. We then wondered if they had a methodology or architecture for building trust, and the answer was characteristically vague: “No, you just learn to build trust.” Similarly, we asked over a dozen family mediators and marriage counselors: “In what percentage of marriage breakdowns is the breakdown of trust a major factor?” Their answer: “Nearly 100%.” We then asked this group if they had a trust methodology or architecture. “No.”

Having been relegated to the academic and professional backseat, trust has never embraced a systems architecture that has integrated the thinking and inter-relationships between these five core modes-of-thought. Each of these five modes-of-thought (while broadly accepted) have been segregated and conflicted for centuries. The complexity and paradox that has traditionally swamped the trust field comes from the lack of “systems architecture” that effectively integrates the specialized analysis of these five thought-modes. This fragmentation has clouded, confounded, and complicated any real clarity of the fundamental issues about trust. We believe we are thus positioning the material in this book to have a universal applicability because the trust framework soundly addresses these systems architectural issues.


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