Trust Models

I learned from HR consultant Robert Fisher that there are four basic trust models:

  1. Suspicious still. Don't ever trust anyone, even after they have done something nice.
  2. Suspicious until. Don't trust anyone until they prove themself.
  3. Trust until. Trust people until they screw up.
  4. Trust still. Trust people even after they make mistakes, sometimes even when they hurt you.

Here is a picture I drew showing trust models can evolve:

trust models

Here are some beliefs I have about trust models:

  • Evolution. Although you might be today in any one of the four stages, you can also move through various stages in life. I like to think that if people start out life in a suspicious stage, that they can evolve to becoming more trusting of others. (Remove those scars on your back...)
  • Trust still. Many people would argue that stage 4 is a bad place to be, trusting people even after they have hurt you or made mistakes. I think it is all a matter of degrees, but in general, prefer to be closer to stage 4 than stage 3. I also don't like working with people who are in stage 1, and often (but not always) don't like working with people who are in stage 2.
  • Optimism. Optimism/belief is a critical component for being very successful. (E.g., sculptor who sees the statue and simply frees it from the stone; E.Q. marshmallow test, etc.) I think there is a strong correlation between trust models and optimism.
  • Success. People at the top of the trust diagram are generally more successful in life than those on the bottom. Part of this is that you often need to trust colleagues to have them perform at their highest levels. - articles - startups - nonprofits - press 17-Oct-2020