Trust is like clean air

Trust is like clean air, you notice it when it’s no longer there”  (Annette Baier)

One of the great things about Amsterdam is that there is always an event you can go to. Last week I went to Pakhuis de Zwijger to attend a social innovation meet up about trust.

Pauline Voortman inspired the room with a summary of her conclusions of her research ‘trust works‘. She works as a trainer and consultant and received her Ph.D. from the Erasmus University. Creating or restoring trust in organisations is her passion and her core business.

While Pauline focuses mainly on organisations in her research, I believe the principles can be applied to all areas of life. Not in the least to Expat Life!

How important is trust when you arrive at an unknown place? I for sure always love it when I arrive at an unknown airport and there is a friend waiting to pick me up. Or maybe the taxi driver arranged by a friend. Or maybe even recommended only. No matter who it is, I like it when I trust them.

Let me first give a definition of trust so we know what we’re talking about here. The way Pauline defines it: trust is a feeling, an aspect of relationships between people in a certain context.

You are probably an expat and starting up a new life. Who do you trust for information about Amsterdam? Who do you find integer enough to clean your house? Who do you turn to for advice on buying a car? Who will you hire to rent a house for you?

We are all looking for reliable connections. The four factors of reliability presented in the research are:

  • competence
  • integrity
  • good will
  • communication skills

 When these are present, trust is formed. This is the basis of the contact.

Once you have that, you can start creating predictability. In other words: ‘being clear’. This is initiated by the person who leads, the person in charge.

Who do you think ‘leads’ when you are looking for a house in a city you don’t know? Always when you are in contact with a person that knows more than you do on a subject, this person in a way leads.

So when you arrive to Amsterdam and you do not know your way around yet, please choose some good ‘leaders’. Competent ofcourse. And also integer, good-willed, with good communication skills.

Because when the ‘leader’ creates predictability, good will emerges naturally. Good-willed people are open and transparent. The outcome will be so much better and it is characterized by a good feeling.








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