Trust as capital

Trust as capital is something I have recently given some thought.

Working the last five years as a sales professional, I cannot say how often this is key to making any deal at all. It can often be the roadblock that will never allow you to succeed, or it can be the one thing that brings you success (e.g. referrals or quicker decisions). You could argue it is a pretty straight line, you either have trust or you do not. It seems entirely black and white, but perhaps it is not. You could also argue that just is a bit more fluent, like capital or funds. Imagine a trust bank.

A trust bank could consist of your network, clients, prospects, acquaintances and colleagues. Each of these can influence your balance (or let us call it Trust score) at the Trust bank negatively or positively. What are these groups saying about you while you are not in the room, that is the impacting factor on the trust bank. Sometimes they can conflict each other. If you have someone who is impacting your trust score negatively and someone impacting it positively, do they then balance each other out?

Perhaps or perhaps not, this is where you would have to consider the Trust Score of the agent who is having an impact on your trust score.

Let me give an example:

Bob and I have a beer together. I tell Bob that Jim recently joined my team. Bob lets me know that he and Jim have previously been colleagues and worked together. I say interesting, tell me how you experience was and how you got on with Jim? Bob says it was a terrible experience, which they regularly clashed and it seemed like Jim was just out to sabotage Bob.
This should put Jim in a bad spot, right? Not really, because considering my experience with Bob and his trust score might make me attribute it with low trust impact. So let us look at Bob. Bob tends to boast his accomplishments and exaggerate. He also tends to cut people off and be very candid, sometimes even rude. He can still be fun to have a drink with, but his trust is also in the gutter. So when he rates Jim in this way, that makes me wonder how much I can trust his trust score of Jim while knowing Bob’s trust score is just as weak.

So if we assume trust is a lot more fluid and impacted by multiple factors and the underlying trust score of the person who is putting negative or positive trust on to your trust balance. Are we then able to look at ways that we can game trust?

Like getting trust from someone who is a significant influencer (e.g. Bill Gates or Arianna Huffington), getting backed by a major venture capital fund (e.g. Sequoia or Greylock), or by setting out to do something never done before (Space flight or building a borderwall). Can you build trust capital out of thin air and get people, companies and even countries to follow you?

Is it possible to build an algorithm on which trust could be calculated, if yes how would it look?

Building something like this, whether it be an app, algorithm or mathematical function is probably beyond my skills. However, I do start to see and recognise moment where I can gain or lose trust capital depending on how and what I say. It is an unusual power that can work for you or work against you, whether you can recognise it or not.

What are your thoughts on this?

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