Myth #2: Everybody Wants to Trust and Be Trusted

By Dr. Steve Caldwell, PhD | Steve Caldwell Series

Apr 30
birth of a myth Steve Caldwell PhD

I always start my lectures on TRUST by asking this question, “If everybody wants it, why then do we have so little of it?” I then get a lot of blank stares from students, wondering, “Is this a trick question?”

No. It’s not a trick question but it certainly is a fascinating one and it speaks volumes about the issues we have with TRUST. The answer is in the oft misunderstood notion of what trust really is.

The word is typically used loosely to just mean ‘believe strongly’ in something”. For example, “I trust you can do this for me.” But it is much more than just a strong belief. For me, it means I believe that you will not act in your own best interest at the expense of mine.

Trust is “willful vulnerability.”

Trust is intimacy (“into-me-see”). It is choosing to give someone else some form of control over you because you believe in their character. It allows you to exchange information more freely and efficiently – like unclogging an artery makes you healthier.

See now why it is so rare? It is the opposite of control and many people value control more. From an early age, many of us were taught to avoid making ourselves vulnerable to anyone and that gaining as much control as possible will help us “win. BUT, effective leadership requires willful followers.

The main role of trust is to reduce risks. It’s why someone will abandon the status quo for you. It reduces uncertainty. Innovation in the CPG industry involves change. This makes TRUST among all players up and down the supply chain one of the most important requirements for innovation. Many people think innovation is “only” about inventing some new product.

NOT so.

This is the next myth to be busted.

Stay tuned!

You can get more Double Bottom Line insights from Dr Caldwell’s book ‘Winning in a Hostile Environment’ available through or you can have him personally come share these insights with your team. He can be reached at or 864-907-2052

About the Author

Steve Caldwell, author of "Winning in a Hostile Environment: The Double Bottom Line Mandate", holds a PhD in Management of Human Behavior from Georgia Institute of Technology. He is both an accomplished teacher and researcher, with numerous publications in peer-reviewed academic journals. Prior to obtaining his doctorate, Steve spent 28 years in the business world, serving as an executive in the Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola bottling networks. He is currently CEO of DBL Insights, LLC providing consulting and coaching services to business leaders.