Emotional Equations – The Trust Equation

Last week I began writing about Emotional Equations, as coined by Chip Conley. I’ve since looked at a number of themes that can be put into equations and will write about them in upcoming posts.

For today, an equation developed by Trusted Advisor Associates (for more depth follow the link to their article)  :


Let’s look here about the emotions, energy, feelings created by people around these variables.

A few years ago I was in a leadership role for a business and shared the Trust Equation with one of the other leaders in the organisation, along with this note :

“Life and business moves at the speed of trust. The most important of the four variables here is self-orientation. The more we put the interests of others first, the deeper their trust in us. The more they trust us, the deeper the relationship. Thus, the more we put others first, the faster and easier is it for us to transact with them. Put simply, to be commercially successful, put others first. Counter-intuitive, huh ? CommercialAbundance”

(First, the “Speed of Trust” part first deserves to credit Stephen Covey’s book of the same name.)

This theme also goes back to another recent post “A Trust Story – Pindrop“, of a medical practice where one of the doctors told me “We want you to trust us, so it makes sense that we choose to trust you”. Put others first.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, I am currently in dialogue as a customer of a major retail bank and observing their (to quote from Vernon Hill of Metrobank, btw NOT the bank described here!) “stupid banking rules”.

Today as i write this post, I returned a call from someone at the bank. Before I could be put through, I was put through no fewer than eight security steps. Eight. A future article on that for sure, but one can already sense that they are not putting customers first here.

So, back to the equation a little more, a few thoughts on the individual elements, again defined well for business use in the article from Trusted Advisor, these thoughts go a little broader into all interpersonal relationships and the feelings, emotions, energy :

Trustworthiness – I like that this is at the end of the equation, as Trust is the outcome of the other elements. We can choose to trust in the beginning as a philosophical starting point, but for deep and lasting trust, the four variables must also score strongly.

Credibility – beyond relevant and sufficient expertise and experience, to be credible in any space where trust is sought we must be true to our word always.

Reliability – in an emotional equations space, this is also key. About more than dependability, it is about consistency and stability and what that does to the feeling of trust.

Intimacy – as with reliability, do we feel safe and secure in trusting and depending upon that person ?

What matters most to you amongst these variables ? Think of your own experiences, what resonates most about this equations ?