Identifying, Analysing And Influencing Trust

Identifying, Analysing And Influencing Trust

January 15th, 2011 // 2:53 pm @

“it is crucial for managers to develop a better understanding of trust and how to manage it.  Fortunately, 50 years of research in social psychology has shown that trust isn’t magically created.  When people choose to trust, they have gone through a decision-making process — one involving factors that can be identified, analysed and influenced.”

Prof. Robert Hurley

The Decision to Trust

Harvard Business Review, September 2006.


Research shows that trust (and the ability to create it) is the No. 1 leadership competency.  It is a rising tide, which lifts all boats. Clients who trust you buy more, stay longer, recommend you to others, and give you the benefit of the doubt if something goes wrong.  Service Level Agreements are not the same as working in partnership with suppliers you trust.  Trust is also the major factor in team effectiveness, creativity and readiness to accept change.

The International Team Trust Indicator

The International Team Trust Indicator (ITTI) is a 50-item online questionnaire that takes about 30 minutes to complete, and identifies the behaviours and attitudes team members want from their colleagues in order to trust them.  The trust wants across 10 criteria are then compared with respondents’ assessments of the behaviours and attitudes they actually get, thereby establishing a trust gap that is the focus of the feedback and intervention.

Individual results for wants and gets are then pooled to provide an overall report on the levels of trust for the team as a whole.  The report contains a range of graphical analysis options that enable the team leader and the members of the team to identify the nature of any trust gap deficits.

Who is (and isn’t) the ITTI designed for?

The ITTI is designed for teams that have experience of working together for at least enough time to build up a perception of the extent they need and want to trust each other in order to function effectively together.  There needs to be interdependence among team members, and skills within the team need to be seen as complementary.  The ITTI will not be effective with loose groups of people who have no need to achieve common goals together, or whose structure is mostly competitive.

The ITTI is particularly suited to remote or virtual teams where the need for swift trust is even more important in promoting team cohesion and identity, in managing appropriate confrontation and conflict, and in increasing productivity.

The ITTI is also particularly suited to multicultural teams — comprised of both ethnic and professional cultural differences — since it is likely to surface implicit underlying cultural values and assumptions that present in performance and behavioural issues within teams.

However, the ITTI is wholly applicable for any single location monocultural team that has no remote, virtual, international or multicultural dimensions.

The benefits for the team (leader) of using the ITTI

The ITTI can:

  • Show where the team is succeeding in meeting each other’s trust requirements
  • Build trust simply by putting the issue forward objectively as a ‘solvable’ challenge
  • Kick start a longer-term coaching process
  • Explore cultural differences in trust requirements between ‘groups’ within the team or between separate teams — ie by splitting the data: HQ team, branch office team, marketing team, operational team, British team, American team, etc.
  • Put team productivity at the centre of the initiative, not individual fault-finding and blame
  • Uncover difficult-to-identify barriers which have been holding back the team
  • Get to the heart of a dysfunctional team’s misperceptions about each other.

The Trust Criteria

In the ITTI questionnaire each of the 10 Trust Criteria is investigated using 5 sub-aspects:


Trust based on a perception that team members are competent, and so will not let me down:

  • Clear and realistic goals
  • Can meet high standards
  • Can meet the challenge of the group role
  • Reputation for success
  • Specialist qualifications and experience


Trust based on background, values, approaches, interests and objectives held in common:

  • Shared common purpose and priorities
  • Common goals stronger than personal agendas
  • Aligned approach
  • Shared communication code
  • Similar education or background


Trust based on the belief that other team members are concerned about my overall welfare:

  • Focus on my welfare
  • Support me
  • Recognise me
  • Not opportunistic
  • Empathises with my issues


Trust based on the fact that other team members keep their promises, are team oriented and behave towards me in accordance with our moral code:

  • Keeps promises
  • Perceived as fair
  • Can manage tough conversations
  • Team loyalty under pressure
  • Genuinely team focused


Trust based on the observation that the behaviour of team members is consistent over time and in different contexts:

  • Exposes the ‘why’ to understand the ‘what’
  • Reliable
  • Consistent over time and contexts
  • Disciplined
  • Normative


Trust arising from the feeling that I have nothing to fear from the other members of the group:

  • Can speak up
  • No betrayal
  • Tolerant of divergent opinion
  • Not dominating
  • Non-judgmental with mistakes


Trust based on the observation that other group members actively include me in their social and work activities:

  • Social and work inclusion
  • Consult before key decisions
  • Share credit for success
  • Welcome my views
  • Not cliquey

Openness with information

Trust based on the fact that other team members share information important to the team proactively and clearly:

  • Transparent information exchange
  • Available for consultation
  • Transparent motives
  • Generous with information
  • Handles sensitive information without breaking confidentiality


Trust based on the fact that other team members share their true feelings, and I can relate to them on a personal level:

  • Emotionally transparent
  • Emotionally investing
  • Clear about what they care about
  • Expressing feelings, not just thoughts
  • Investing in personal as well as professional relations


Trust based on the observation that other team members are trusting and co-operative towards me:

  • No favourites
  • Perception of interdependence
  • Relies on me and shows vulnerability
  • Proactive trust in others
  • No checking up.

For further information

For further information on the International Team Trust Indicator, contact:

Alastair Wyllie

Wyllie and Reid Corporate Communications

Mob:            +44 07778 436328

Alastair Wyllie is accredited by WorldWork to administer the ITTI.

Category : Featured Blogs &Intercultural

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