Saturday, December 30, 2017

Trust vis Acceptance

As I've written elsewhere, there is not really -- and can not be -- trust between strangers because trust requires a transfer (or exchange) of power based on a mutually shared belief that interests are entangled.

To wit: you can trust me on this because I accept some responsibility for our mutual success

And, I'll only do that if I know you well enough to believe in your competence, your integrity, and your sense of values that align well enough with what I value. This, of course, lets out strangers

On the other hand, even if I don't have trust, I can have acceptance. I can believe, based on observation or context, that you are likely to follow the norms I follow. If that weren't the case, we probably couldn't hurdle down the highway at 80mph with on-coming traffic of strangers. We don't know the other drivers, of course, but we have acceptance of their belief in the value of the traffic norms.

With that in mind, I was struck by this statement in a novel I'm reading:
"Trust is something an intelligence officer does not give on first meeting. But, I [can] accept you"
"The Quantum Spy" David Ignatius

Given that tens of thousands of PMs work in classified environments, and given the breaches of confidence and norms in the past few years, is it any wonder that trust in our industry is devolving to merely acceptance -- with a "show me" to follow?

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