The theme for this quarter at Six Seconds is Trust. We went to our resident expert on the subject, Lea Brovedani, The Trust Architect to get some insight into how we can talk to each other across our differences.
Lea: I want to help build trust. The Trust Architect was a good metaphor for me since I want to help people design these wonderful structures that allow people to live in trust . I can’t create trust for you. What I can give you are the blueprints for trust. That’s what architects do. They provide the blueprints.
I talk about reputation and trust. It gives people an idea that I will trust you based on your reputation if I know nothing about you. I trust Jenny because we both spent time in India…Because we’re part of the same network.
Where do we start with trusting or not trusting people?
Lea: It’s never a 0 or a 10. Very rarely do we trust everyone we meet, or distrust completely everyone we meet. There is a lot that goes into it. Part of my trust for you, Rachel, comes with the people you’re associated with. I know and trust them and by association I trust you. It’s very important that if we’re referring someone, our trust reputation is passed on to the person we are referring. Trust is very complicated. It has a lot of different arms and tentacles.
I’ve experienced that both ways; both positive outcome of the referral and the opposite.
Lea: A lot of times, I’m careful of my trust reputation. If you want to build trust, ask your self “Is this going to build trust with people or destroy trust?”. If I refer this person, is it going to build the trust they have in me, or destroy it?
People are having trouble in dinner conversations around trust and differences in politics or religion these days. How do we come together?
Lea: This is a time for emotional intelligence, and using all of the optimism and all of Albert Ellis’s rational/emotive behavior therapy and the many tools Six Seconds teaches. They’re so important right now. It’s one of the reasons I have come back to Six Seconds. Living in these turbulent times, Six Seconds is a blanket and a hug for me. The work I do on trust is my work, but volunteering for Six Seconds centers me and shows me trust is alive.
It feels as though our own survival and that of future generations is at stake, and that’s why trust is low and people feel particularly wary.
Lea: I had a heated discussion with someone about climate change. Normally I don’t say anything, but he was saying ‘Lea, you can’t really believe in climate change. I’ve talked to people who are saying CO2 is not causing global warming.’ He was saying climate change is a hoax. It got very heated (no pun intended). These discussions can create atmospheres of distrust.
How about family members with whom we disagree? How does trust work there?
Lea: There is nothing that triggers bad behavior like relatives with bad history between them. The brother that gives you that little amygdala hook. My brother, I love him very much. We are on opposite sides politically. He hates the new prime minister. I love him, but because it’s Canada, we just won’t talk about it, and I know it doesn’t speak to his character. In the U.S. I would love to see it get to the point where politics and character are separate.
There are some neighbors who are opposite me on the political spectrum and we don’t talk about politics. You have to be curious and if you believe that person has great moral character, you stay away from the subject and find things you can agree on. I think there is nothing more divisive than asking the question; “How can you support Trump?” because that’s a judgment, not a question.
Given that we’re in such a time of change, can we build trust when we open up difficult conversations?
Lea: Yes, if we enter the conversation in curiosity and not in blame and judgment.
What about people “Camping out” in their positions?
Lea: The Dali Lama talks about looking at things we share. A dear friend I met in India said, “I’ve always been afraid of western women. There was an aura and mystique and they lived these free lives.” We found our connection as parents and working women. As parents we both loved and wanted the best for our children. We were proud of the work we were doing. It added to the world and these were points of connection.
“If you want to trust someone, look for the points of connection, not the points of divergence.” -Lea Brovedani
You and I, if we explored it, and we talked long enough, we’d probably find points where we totally disagree, and that would separate us. But I’m thinking that there are so many points that connect us, that we believe in doing the best for the world, that we believe in giving back to our community, we believe in curiosity, that we believe finding the good in others. Those are really strong connectors, and so when I concentrate on that with you, I trust you more. I feel more trust and connection. Look for what connects us, not divides us.
I have the five commandments of Trust
This has a lot to do with emotional intelligence. I’m not going to trust you until I know you care about me as well. I’m not going to care about you, unless I know there’s caring back. Look at someone and really see them. Put the phone down for god sakes! I’ve seen families at dinner and everyone including the four year old is on a machine. There is no connection. If you’re going to go out to dinner, go out to dinner. Connect with each other again. Make a pact to have conversations.
If you’re going to tell me that commitment is really important to you, what commitment are we talking about? Are you saying commitment to work is important to you? If I am putting on my HR hat then that’s what I’m hiring you for. Then show up on time and give it your all. Don’t spend two hours on Facebook at work. One place I worked, people were seen as committed if they worked late. Many times, these people didn’t start working until the end of the day. Others with families took work home with them. They got things done. Make sure you know what commitment looks like.
Communication touches all the other four. I have to communicate in actions, deeds or words that I am committed, competent, and care about you. If people are saying they’re buying into this, I want to know: what does it look like at work, at home, in personal relationships?It’s not communicating until the other person understands what you said.
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