Trust & Openness in Organizations LO21995

Eugene Taurman (
Fri, 25 Jun 1999 11:09:46 -0500

Replying to LO21977 --

At 08:57 AM 6/24/99 -0400, you wrote:

>My own observations suggest that trust is a critical component of
>successful knowledge management and essential to nurture knowledge
>communities. It takes time and consistency, often scarce items in today?s
>corporate world.

You bet. Trust is an absolute requirement for the organization to learn
from it's mistakes.

>To offer a current and real life illustration from my own organisation; we
>are currently designing a peer to peer system to help people identify who
>has expertise, knowledge, experience to help them. Quite literally, who
>has done this before, how, where, what were the lessons learned, etc. In
>other words how do I learn from best practice and avoid re-inventing the
>Part of this system involves encouraging people to have personal homepages
>where they describe themselves. The big issues becomes, do we trust people
>to describe themselves accurately, or must their input be validated by
>management or HR? Remembering that this is a peer to peer system to help
>and provide advice to each other, one would think that there would be
>little incentive to boast or exaggerate as your peers would quickly see
>though you and the market would 'self-adjust' accordingly.
>This question perhaps seems even stranger when you consider that these
>people are trusted with multi-million dollar investment projects and the
>economic future of entire countries.

There is little reason to trust people with your ideas or to believe them
just because they have been selected by the board or other form of boss.
Trust is more complex than that.The questions an individual answers before
sharing are often like this
Can I trust him to not criticize my idea?
Will he take time to listen and understand?
Did she frustrate me use a process that did not run well and then not
listen to my effort to explain?
Is she competent to understand me or my idea?

People make judgements like these with out verbalizing and decide to trust
or not.

>So I am left to consider how emotional an issue this is, But with the
>fundamental belief that the ONLY way to proceed is through openness.

Openness is a step in the ight direction but only one. There are two
elements that determine trustworthy.
Integrity-- will you try to do it?
Competence-- Are you capable of doing it.

In a corporation it is more complex and involves the competence of systems
as well and good intentions vs contraire orders.This mixed bag causes low
trust even without dishonesty.

Eugene Taurman
interLinx Consulting
414-242-3345 e-mail
fax 781-459-825

"Deprived of information one cannot assume responsibility,
but, given the information one cannot avoid responsibility."
Smitty The Janitor


Eugene Taurman <>

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