Is trust a natural act?

Yesterday the ASAP annual summit started. Approximately 250 alliance professionals from 15 countries together in Anaheim, CA. During dinner last night I had the pleasure to share the dinner table with a.o. Robert Lynch, the founder of ASAP. Robert took an interesting stand that to have successful Alliance professionals you need to look at certain elements in the person’s background. And to proof his point he asked us a couple of questions about background, career development, even family background. Interesting enough it appeared that in many cases we had similar backgrounds and interests. By itself it is not strange that people in a similar profession have similar backgrounds. Robert however also stated that he could predict on forehand that certain professionals would not be successful as an Alliance professional, project managers for instance would not make it to be successful in Alliance management.

Elements that stood out to be important for alliance professionals are amongst others relationship management and in many cases, as Robert called it, a zig-zag career as a background. That zig-zag career brings a broad background that will make it easier to understand many elements of the alliance relationship. When it comes to the Myer-Briggs test alliance professionals often seem to come out in the middle. Balanced between left and right brain thinking.

These backgrounds let to a discussion about trust and the question whether trust is a natural act or can be learned by use of a system. Which resulted in yet another lively dinner table discussion. In his session wednesday “When NOT to trust: Lessons in collaborative network building” Robert will elaborate more on it these topics.

What do you think, can trust be learned, or is it a natural act where you will instantaneously know who to trust and who not?

3 Responses to “Is trust a natural act?”

  1. In my view trust can be likened to fuel in a rental car/ vehicle. If it is eroded, and not rebuilt by the responsible person(s) then the relationship vehicle is stalled and there are unsettled matters between the parties in question. Being trusting or otherwise is a matter of temperament that depends on a person’s culture, world view and experiences in life. One might find that a person we view as untrustworthy gains our trust with time and vice versa. Like other skills with time, people may learn to know right at the outset who to trust and who to not, in a given context. You could trust someone to drive your car, but not your plane. It is pretty subjective, I think.