Times they are a changin’ – so sang Bob Dylan back in 1964, and he’s just won the Nobel Prize for Literature this year (2016), so he’s still valid, and what he sang is still valid too.
The times are indeed still changing. It’s a big change in itself that Bob can win a literature prize when he’s not working in that field.
I suspect that the biggest change is in regard to trust.
When you think about it, trust underpins the majority of changes we all hear about these days.
Labour Party supporters lost trust in their own party and voted in Corbyn. The public lost trust in the Labour Party and voted for other parties instead. The majority of Brits lost trust in membership of the European Union.
People have lost trust in Big Business, Big Pharma, Big Banks. They have also lost trust in politics, religion, economics, sport, climate change, and the media.
Corruption, Fake News, Drugged athletes, VW’s rigged emissions… it’s difficult to find anything we can still trust in.
This idea intrigues me, so I’m thinking it through here on this blog in front of your very eyes.
I was once told that marriage is a relationship based on trust. That it requires a buy-in from both parties, and is based on continuance-without-question. This is close to the work ethic in that you get up and go to work each morning without thinking – it’s automatic, it’s what you do. You do not have to stop and decide to choose to go to work each day. Same thing with marriage – you decided to marry, and don’t need to make that choice every day. Until that trust is broken.
Can trust in work or marriage, once broken, ever be regained? I have heard it said that once trust in a relationship is broken, then a decision is continually made – that there is a choice every morning. You do not automatically assume subconsciously to continue. Broken trust is when that comes to the fore and is considered however fleetingly. Maybe this fades over time? What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
Yes, we all know relationships can continue – but the point is that the trust is not there; something has changed. Perhaps more often than not, continuance is because there is no clear alternative, and the choice is forced rather than freely made.
OK. I know what you’re thinking – that relationships have different areas of trust, and my description is too narrow. You’re right but only to a certain extent; some people don’t trust their partners to drive their car, others don’t trust their significant other with handling the money or children.So we can have working relationships containing distrust, but it seems to me that it works only when the distrust is known to both, and actively managed (not ignored or avoided). That’s the important difference I think.
What can be done when trust is broken?
Well we can vote for change. We can vote against the establishment. We can revolt. We can fight back.
I know that Air B’n’B is all about trust; people are in your home – your private and personal space. Uber is another new business that is very trusting too.
This is the new trust way.
We always had a social contract, a trust that the taxi driver would take us to our destination. We maybe didn’t have a great level of trust that the fare would be correct or that the taxi would not break the speed limit. But with Uber and Air B’n’B it’s a two-way street in that you can review your experience, and they can review you as a customer.
The result is that service provider and customer behave better, and trust is currency.
Reputation becomes the biggest and most important commodity.
Councils provide housing for people who do not take care of the property. Perhaps if there was a system like the Uber/ Air B’n’B model, reputation would make councils repair and maintain properties better, and tenants would keep their homes better?
Banking and investing have always been about customer reputation – credit scores and ratings – but that is one-sided. We need the banks and financial institutions to care about their own reputations, we need this to be a two-way street to rebuilt trust.
Politics is too far gone. The old party politics system is no longer fit for purpose. Council members, MPs, MEPs and MSPs have never been rated and reviewed on their performance, their delivery of manifesto promises nor even on their attendance/ involvement. There have never been Key Performance Indicators nor targets against which they may be measured. It’s deliberately complicated and opaque.
I can’t think of anything that can’t be improved by changing to a reputation model – including work. I hope this is the future.