Scrum Values, Visibility and Trust Loops

Trust is earned.

Some fundamentally disagree with this statement. For those that disagree Trust is given freely. They give trust freely until such time as a person irrevocably betrays that trust.  They believe that this leads to a method of management that creates hostile antagonistic workplaces rife with fear. A pattern of mistrust is established that leads others to be mistrustful and perpetuates a negative cycle of oppression.

I would agree that it sets up a behavior pattern that is negative and learned. However when I am asked to just trust someone this feels wrong to me. It’s not that I don’t trust them or do trust them It is more that I have no reason to trust them. For colleagues at work I have evidence to suggest that they won’t attack be suddenly with a gun or knife. So I trust them not to do that. However, for a man who steps out suddenly from a darkened alcove in a lonely ally… I don’t trust him that far. Why? I have no data to suggest that pattern of behavior is appropriate in that context.

So I propose that trust is earned not given freely. Most people conceptualize trust as a bank account +- (data from cognitive psychology).  So how do we open an account and start filling it?

If someone says to me, you just need to trust “xxx” and I lack data to agree then I am paused. If I say I don’t trust them will they call me a distrustful or suspicious person? Are they trying to attack my value system? What do I say here to not get painted as an oppressive mistrustful person?

Think of trust as a Trust Loop and visibility as the key to seeding that loop. I make shared work or activity visible so that we can do something/anything together.

visibility, trust loop and scrum values

Trust is earned. Anything else is what I call faith. I avoid using faith (blind intuitive leaps) for what should be an empirical approach. Now you might argue I should have enough evidence to be comfortable with something and should trust them. Truly, if I can find the data and convince myself without spending too much time, then I will. But, please let’s not argue about lack of trust. That makes me crazy and I see it too often as a bullying technique to beat someone down or attack their value system because you don’t agree with them.

Scrum Values and I propose another

  1. Commitment

  2. Focus

  3. Openness

  4. Respect

  5. Courage.

6. Visibility

Visibility is valued by me because it allows me to seed the trust loop. Once I can see or have experienced working with someone on anything my trust account grows. It takes time to know and grow a relationship. As the relationship grows it becomes easier to work with that person and make bigger leaps of understanding based on previously established rapport.

Hence my rule: Make it Visible

Make it visible is one of my foundational legs that the Scrum framework rests on.