Three Tricky Questions About Trust

Three Tricky Questions About Trust

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I am intentionally breaking into my series on Body Language to write about my core material on trust because a new Podcast Interview has just been released that contains some vital information about trust. The interview is with Andrew Brady, CEO of the XLR8 Team and author of an upcoming book, “For the ƎVO⅃ution of Business.”

In my leadership classes, I often like to pose 3 challenging questions about the nature of trust.

As people grapple with the questions, it helps them sort out for themselves a deeper meaning of the words and how they might be applied in their own world. The three questions are:

• What is the relationship between trust and vulnerability?
• Can you trust someone you fear?
• Can you respect someone you do not trust, and can you trust someone you do not respect?

I have spent a lot of time bouncing these questions around in my head. I am not convinced that I have found the correct answers (or even that correct answers exist). I have had to clarify in my own mind the exact meanings of the words trust, vulnerability, fear, and respect.

Before you read this article further, stop here and ponder the three questions for yourself. See if you can come to some answers that might be operational for you.

Thinking about these concepts, makes them become more powerful for us. I urge you to pose the three questions (without giving your own answers) to people in your work group. Then have a quality discussion about the possible answers. You will find it is a refreshing and deep conversation to have.
Here are my answers (subject to change in the future as I grow in understanding):

1. What is the relationship between trust and vulnerability?

Trust implies vulnerability. When you trust another person, there is always a chance that the person will disappoint you. Ironically, it is the extension of your trust that drives a reciprocal enhancement of the other person’s trust in you. If you are a leader and you want people in your organization to trust you more, one way to achieve that is to show more trust in them.

That is a very challenging concept for many managers and leaders. They sincerely want to gain more trust, but find it hard to extend higher trust to others. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “It is better to trust and be disappointed every once in a while than to not trust and be miserable all the time.”

2. Can you trust someone you fear?

Fear and trust are nearly opposites. I believe trust cannot kindle in an organization when there is fear, so one way to gain more trust is to create an environment with less fear. In the vast majority of cases, trust and lack of fear go together.

The question I posed is whether trust and fear can ever exist at the same time. I think it is possible to trust someone you fear. That thought is derived from how I define trust.

My favorite definition is that if I trust you, I believe you will always do what you believe is in my best interest – even if I don’t appreciate it at the time. Based on that logic, I can trust someone even if I am afraid of what she might do as long as I believe she is acting in my best interest.

For example, I may be afraid of my boss because I believe she is going to give me a demotion and suggest I get some training on how to get along with people better. I am afraid of her because of the action she will take, while on some level I am trusting her to do what she believes is right for me.

Let’s look at another example. Suppose your supervisor is a bully who yells at people when they do not do things to his standards. You do not appreciate the abuse and are fearful every time you interact with him. You do trust him because he has kept the company afloat during some difficult times and has never missed a payroll, but you do not like his tactics.

3. Can you respect someone you do not trust & can you trust someone you do not respect?

This one gets pretty complicated. In most situations trust and respect go hand in hand. That is easy to explain and understand. But is it possible to conjure up a situation where you can respect someone you do not yet trust? Sure, we do this all the time.

We respect people for the things they have achieved or the position they have reached. We respect many people we have not even met. For example, I respect Nelson Mandela, but I have no basis yet to trust him, even though I have a predisposition to trust him based on his reputation.

Another example is a new boss. I respect her for the position and the ability to hold a job that has the power to offer me employment. I probably do not trust her immediately. I will wait to see if my respect forms the foundation on which trust grows based on her actions over time.

If someone has let me down in the past, and I have lost respect for that person, then there is no basis for trust at all. This goes to the second part of the question: Can you trust someone you do not respect?

I find it difficult to think of a single example where I can trust someone that I do not respect. That is because respect is the basis on which trust is built. If I do not respect an individual, I believe it is impossible for me to trust her. Therefore, respect becomes an enabler of trust, and trust is the higher order phenomenon. You first have to respect a person, then go to work on building trust.

People use the words trust, fear, respect, and vulnerability freely every day. It is rare that they stop and think about the relationships between the concepts. Thinking about and discussing these ideas ensures that communication has a common ground for understanding, so take some time in your work group to wrestle with these questions.

 

Top 6 Books Health Execs Should Read in 2018

http://www.managedhealthcareexecutive.com/mhe-articles/top-6-books-health-execs-should-read-2018?rememberme=1&elq_mid=3315&elq_cid=876742

 

 

 

Mice Don’t Know When to Let It Go, Either

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Animals, like humans, are reluctant to give up on pursuits they’ve invested in, psychologists report.

Suppose that, seeking a fun evening out, you pay $175 for a ticket to a new Broadway musical. Seated in the balcony, you quickly realize that the acting is bad, the sets are ugly and no one, you suspect, will go home humming the melodies.

Do you head out the door at the intermission, or stick it out for the duration?

Studies of human decision-making suggest that most people will stay put, even though money spent in the past logically should have no bearing on the choice.

This “sunk cost fallacy,” as economists call it, is one of many ways that humans allow emotions to affect their choices, sometimes to their own detriment. But the tendency to factor past investments into decision-making is apparently not limited to Homo sapiens.

In a study published on Thursday in the journal Science, investigators at the University of Minnesota reported that mice and rats were just as likely as humans to be influenced by sunk costs.

The more time they invested in waiting for a reward — in the case of the rodents, flavored pellets; in the case of the humans, entertaining videos — the less likely they were to quit the pursuit before the delay ended.

“Whatever is going on in the humans is also going on in the nonhuman animals,” said A. David Redish, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Minnesota and an author of the study.

This cross-species consistency, he and others said, suggested that in some decision-making situations, taking account of how much has already been invested might pay off.

“Evolution by natural selection would not promote any behavior unless it had some — perhaps obscure — net overall benefit,” said Alex Kacelnik, a professor of behavioral ecology at Oxford, who praised the new study as “rigorous” in its methodology and “well designed.”

“If everybody does it, the reasoning goes, there must be a reason,” Dr. Kacelnik said.

Even more important than the similarity among species was the study’s finding that sunk cost effects appeared only after the subjects had decided to pursue a reward, Dr. Redish noted, not while they were still deliberating whether to do so.

In effect, the animals seemed to consider the deliberation time not to be part of their investment — an indication, Dr. Redish said, that different brain processes might be at work in different aspects of decision-making.

The idea runs counter to the notion that “time is time, and you’re wasting it either way,” he said.

Shelly Flagel, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan who was not involved in the study, said the research had “far-reaching implications across fields including education, economics, psychology, neuroscience and psychiatry.”

For example, she said, persisting in a behavior even though it has adverse consequences is reminiscent of the conduct “exhibited by people with addictions.”

“Once they start searching for their next ‘fix,’ they will often go hours or days on the same quest, even if it means giving up food, relationships, their job,” Dr. Flagel said.

Learning more about the distinct processes that go awry in psychiatric disorders like addiction might yield new strategies for treatment, she added.

In the study, led by a doctoral student, Brian M. Sweis, three research laboratories at the University of Minnesota collaborated to conduct tests on mice, rats and humans. The rodents were trained to forage for the flavored pellets — banana, chocolate, grape or plain — in a square maze with a “restaurant” in each corner.

The humans were taught to “forage” on a computer for videos of kittens, “dance landscapes” or bicycle accidents. Both rodents and humans were given an overall time limit for the foraging tasks.

In the rodents’ version of the task, the animal first entered an “offer zone” outside a restaurant and heard a pitched tone that informed it how long the wait would be for the pellet reward — a delay that varied randomly from 1 to 30 seconds.

The animal could skip the offer, in which case it was withdrawn, or it could enter the “wait zone” of the restaurant, setting off a countdown signaled by a descending tone. At any time during the countdown, the rodent could choose to leave the restaurant, but once it left it could not return without going all the way around through the other restaurant offer zones.

In the human version of the experiment, subjects were offered a video and presented with buttons saying “stay” or “skip.” A download bar informed them how long they would have to wait to view the video. Clicking the “stay” button started a countdown, and the screen showed the progression of the download.

The study found that the more time the rodents spent in the “wait zone,” the more likely they were to stick out the delay to the end, even though the longer they waited, the more it cut into their overall time to seek food.

Similarly, the longer the human subjects spent waiting for a video to download, the more likely they were to stay the course until the download was finished.

Surprisingly, the amount of time that the subjects — rodent or human — spent deliberating whether to accept the “offer” of a reward did not affect whether they quit before receiving it or stayed through to the end.

“Obviously, the best thing is as quick as possible to get into the wait zone,” Dr. Redish said. “But nobody does that. Somehow, all three species know that if you get into the wait zone, you’re going to pay this sunk cost, and they actually spend extra time deliberating in the offer zone so that they don’t end up getting stuck.”

Dr. Flagel, of the University of Michigan, noted that as compelling as the new research was, it was not without limitations, including the fact that the tasks presented to humans and rodents, though similar in some ways, were still quite different.

“The challenge moving forward,” Dr. Flagel said, “is going to be to know that one is truly capturing the same phenomenon across species. Or perhaps more appropriately, what is the meaning of the differences that will be revealed between species?”