The Return on Trust | on the edge


Building a culture of trust in your organization is what makes a meaningful difference to contribution, connection and mutually beneficial, positive outcomes. This is almost intuitive yet the challenge remains; how do you build and sustain that culture?

Brain activity provides clues as to the relationship between organizational culture and performance. Neuroscience experiments run by Paul J Zak, author of Trust Factor, reveal ways leaders can build a trusting culture. Over a decade of research has shown the direct connection between the brain chemical oxytocin and trust. Zak’s work has revealed management behaviors that engender quantifiable trust in organizations.

Management behaviors that recognize excellence, encourage autonomy and self-determination, promote holistic development and growth, engender trust, according to ZAK. Sharing information openly, being vulnerable to mutual discovery and intentionally building beyond task relationships are significant behaviors that manifest trust.      Interestingly, stress has been found to be an oxytocin inhibitor by Zak,  yet induced challenge stress has the opposite effect when expectations are communicated clearly and reasonable.

The measured return on investment in trust has shown increased engagement (60%), alignment with the organization’s purpose (70%) and a greater sense of accomplishment (40%). This return impacts performance against exactly the same work effort.

“You cultivate trust by setting a clear direction, giving people what they need to see it through, and getting out of their way.” Paul J. Zak

Source: The Neuroscience of Trust

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