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Building Communities of Trust

July 23, 2020
Trust is the new currency, a commodity we need to create as part of our remote renaissance.

To build Outcome-Based Platforms of Trust we need to recreate, reinvent, resurrect our existing Communities of Practice as our new Communities of Trust.

After COVID-19 the new normal will be not normal. It has triggered a cultural/economic remote renaissance with an evolving enlightenment built on trust. We all are struggling with building trust. Social media and all of our messaging, in fact, everything going forward needs to be built on trust.

Trust is the new currency, a commodity we need to create as part of our remote renaissance. We need to clarify and vocalize our personal trusts, declare our support for our Communities of Trust, and encourage all to share their trust. 

Over a year ago we talked about the power of our Communities of Practice ( COP ). These communities already have an implied trust so make natural trust building blocks. Covid-19 has greatly increased our focus on our need for a trusted community. When mutual trust cannot be achieved we end up divided and those divisions foster not just inefficiencies, but misunderstandings, misinformation and conflict.

This article from Deloitte Insights, Embedding trust into COVID-19 recovery, defines four dimensions of stakeholder trust:

Trust is defined as “our willingness to be vulnerable to the actions of others because we believe they have good intentions and will behave well toward us.”

We are willing to put our trust in others because we have faith that they have our best interests at heart, will not abuse us, and will safeguard our interests—and that doing so will result in a better outcome for all. Institutional trust refers to trust in formal institutions: systems, governments, companies, and organizations. Social trust refers to faith in people; it connotes social ties and interpersonal trust between individuals within communities, workplaces, and stakeholder groups.

Social trust is often considered the fabric that binds us together, and ensures societies, economies, and systems can function well—or not.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a shock to our collective systems—and a catalyst to rebuild trust. As resilient leaders seek to shepherd their organizations and stakeholders safely through the COVID-19 crisis, trust will be more critical than ever, as recovery without trust rests on shaky ground. In order to rebuild trust among stakeholders and best position their companies to thrive in the long term, leaders must focus on four dimensions of trust: physical, emotional, financial, and digital.

From the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania website comes this article, What COVID-19 Teaches Us About the Importance of Trust at Work:

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the functioning of organizations in several ways. One consequence of these disruptions that we have seen emerge quickly is the struggle of managers to lead employees who are out of sight. The sudden transition from having employees physically work in the office to remote work has revealed an ugly truth: Most companies fail in building trusting work relationships. 

This thought leadership piece from the Glory-Global website discusses Trust as a Commodity - What is the value of Trust?:

In the digital age where do consumers get their information and what credence do they attach to it? With multiple sources of information and increasing claims of ‘fake news’, it is important to consider the trust consumers attach to these varying sources as they make their purchase decisions.

Russell Quinn, writing for Citadel-MAGNUS, an Australian communications firm calls trust The Ultimate Commodity:

We all know what trust is; or at least, we have an understanding that it is driven by both logic and emotion. And, most of us will also know – if only intuitively – that open communication is paramount to building and maintaining trust. When nurtured, trust can develop into advocacy for both the individual delivering the message and the organisation they represent. In times of crisis, innate human behaviour drives an insatiable desire for strong leadership in the face of adversity, supported by clear information and direction. Trust in the current environment is morphing into the ultimate commodity; perhaps trust already is the ultimate commodity.

Let’s get back to the basics of trust in interpersonal relationships. The website offers How to build trust in a relationship? which discusses 13 strategies for building trust. Top three:

1. Keep to your word and follow through with your actions The entire purpose of building trust with others is that they will be able to believe you when you ... 

2. Learn how to communicate effectively with others This is usually the main reason why relationships fall apart, because of bad communication skills. ... 

3. It takes time to build and earn trust. Building trust should be viewed as a daily activity. Don’t expect too much too soon. 

Moving back to the building automation world, here’s the front page of the developer’s portal at (a subsidiary of the Vastuu Group):

A Platform of Trust harmonizes incompatible data. Coming from various sources, enabling it to be merged and utilized. The harmonized data can be used to create smarter services and more comprehensive analysis that lead to better decision-making and new business opportunities. We have built-in trust capabilities and We don’t collect the data. Customer decides where the data is stored, who can use it, and for what purpose.

Here is an example of several communities of Practice joining forces to build a larger community of trust:

EnOcean has recently partnered with Aruba Networks (a Hewlett-packard enterprise) and will be gaining access to about 10 million of their Wi-Fi Access points within commercial buildings.  By securely using the Wi-Fi infrastructure within a building we eliminate one of the largest barriers to connecting the building data to the cloud.   Bringing the sensor and controller data back to the access points that are already installed will allow buildings to realize the network portion of the infrastructure to be completed within a few minutes instead of weeks.  With nearly zero disruption to the occupants.  

Here is an example from of several communities of trust combining to form platforms of trust:

There are significant benefits by working with an analytics vendor with a software as a service (SaaS) model. With SaaS, instead of paying for expensive, upfront licensing costs, users pay a lower subscription fee. With software costs spread over time, users see a much faster ROI. This model offers other benefits, such as automatic and easy software upgrades and improvements, which are usually included with the subscription. Many of the barriers of implementing data analytics software are simply removed with SaaS.

With travel problematic and working remote the new norm, our industry "Leader of Trust" paves the way for virtual conferencing. From the July issue of

ASHRAE's First-Ever Virtual Conference Is Proving to Be a Success 

With an initial 2,505 registered participants, accessing 92 technical sessions, live forums with speakers, leadership updates and networking events, the 2020 ASHRAE Virtual Conference is proving to be a huge success.

By the way, this is a recording on the Digital Mindfulness website of my first time speaking remotely (via Zoom) as part of an international panel as part of a virtual global conference. It includes a video of discussion between me and Nicholas Waern on digitized spaces in a post-COVID reality.

The conference was hosted in London UK by Lawrence Ampofo, Ph.D. I spoke from my home on the west coast of Canada, Nicholas from his home in Sweden. The conference included over 600 remote attendees from all over the globe. Recording of the complete conference was captured so now anyone can attend whenever they want to. Time and location are no longer constraints.

In effect, we are now able to create timeless, location-free events for our new world of remoteness. This evolving format will allow information from several conferences to be gathered while and rapidly after presentations are made. In the near future, conversion algorithms listening to presenters will distill their content and presentations into global subject matter, shaping global opinions, with the potential of virtual “super real time” conferences enabled by AI.

Wow, that thought shakes the pillars of trust.

This was a comment of mine from the most recent MondayLive:

Okay, willing to jump in. I'm working on this next article talking about building community trust. This is starting to become a big factor in whether occupants trust us that we've made the building safe. There's just a whole bunch of things going on. A while back, Theresa and I talked about communities of practice in our industry and how important they were, and I see them as the logical building blocks to build trust on. We need to pick up these communities of practice, and then turn them into communities of trust. We're starting to see that with ASHRAE but we need to build the trust of all existing organizations. We have built trust in the past, but I think it's, it's our job to continue that and increase the level of trust in all our communities.

Trust me! We been working on trust for a while, In this Blast from the Past from Feb 2009, Andy McMillian, President and CEO of Teletrol Systems, tells us that trust is The Primary Currency in an Open Systems World:

It takes work to earn it, care to nurture it and only one poor decision to lose it. 

While trust is important in buying and selling relationships, it is equally critical in supplier partnership relationships … particularly partnerships among suppliers that compete with each other in some areas while cooperating in others.  Since open systems creates an environment where multiple supplier systems are likely to be interconnected, the potential benefits of supplier partnerships are substantial.  Here too, being trusted means being trustworthy and again it can be deceptively difficult to do.  For many companies, being a trustworthy partner with a competitor requires a significant shift in mindset.  Being trustworthy as a partner means setting realistic terms for cooperation and acknowledging legitimate areas of diverging interests.  It also means being open with information that both parties need to make their joint business decisions.  And, of course, being trustworthy means doing what you say you are going to do.

Trust is the primary currency in an open systems world … and never more so than now, when the future is in many ways uncertain.  It takes work to earn it, care to nurture it and only one poor decision to lose it.  Whether buying, selling or partnering, it is good to keep that in mind.

And here, just as a little something to add to your nightstand, is a Goodreads suggestion:

Little Teal Book of Trust: How to Earn It, Grow It, and Keep It

Trust is a combination of the value that others perceive in you, and their willingness to harmonize with and accept your advice to help them succeed. It's people seeking and taking your advice both as a counselor and a confidante. Someone who trusts you to a point where they call at some critical stage, because they know you are the ONE who can help them in a way that others cannot. But how do you develop trust? 

Our future lies in Building Communities of Trust. Please be careful with the words of your messaging on social media and your promotions. The commodity we all are part of is Trust. 

Our future is in Building Communities of Trust  

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