Carnival of Trust for October 2008

 Welcome to the October, 2008 edition of the Carnival of Trust. As usual, we’ve combed the farthest reaches of the blogosphere to find the Top Ten posts of the past month related to trust across the broad categories of Sales and Marketing, Strategy, Economics and Politics, Advising and Influencing, and Leadership and Management.

Congratulations to all the selected posts, which were excellent. If your submission didn’t get picked this time, please don’t despair; submit again next month. And enjoy the reading.


Social, Schmocial Media

Ford Harding writes about the dialogue between himself and Alan Weiss about social media. Weiss had written that based on his experience with 140 LinkedIn names, “This is a mild diversion with limited utility for serious entrepreneurs and consultants in a world where time is a non-renewable resource. Worse, it has created a cultish behavior among many of its adherents who see the leaf and not the tree or the forest.”

Ford, as he puts it, is still inclined to believe there must be a pony here somewhere.

For my part, I’m the guest host this month at the Sales Sandbox for the Customer Collective, and I’m learning a lot. Which makes me the least curmudgeonly of this trio for once.

 Common Sense is Uncommon

In Overcoming the trust barrier of your prospective customers, Richard Parkes Cordock lays some uncommonly good common sense on us, courtesy of David Ogilvy’s classic “Ogilvy on Advertising” (1983, and still ranking number 7,000 on Amazon).

What wisdom does Ogilvy impart? According to Cordock, it’s the core idea that you sell better by doing than by telling (a concept near and dear to me), and that therefore your best salespeople are other employees.

A refreshing tonic of solid, sober thinking about the right way to sell.

Whom Do You Trust?

Have you heard of Hungry Girl? AKA Lisa Lillien, she is not a nutritional expert, but an average woman trying to eat what she likes and still fit into her jeans. Right there she has a huge market. A former production executive, she now employs 13 and her endorsement is sought.

In Would You Trust a Hungry Girl, author Drea Knufken hints that it’s the combination of girl-next-door with enough earnestness at her attempts to get food recommendations right that make us trust her.

 There’s Something Happening Here and You Don’t Know What it Is…

Notwithstanding Alan Weiss’s bad experience with LinkedIn, and for all the Mr. Joneses amongst us, Chris Wright appears in the Bob Dylan role to tell us about Influence & Authority in a Web 2.0 World.

He cites several studies, most particularly a heavily researched piece by Universal McCann called When Did We Start Trusting Strangers?

As I read this, I started realizing how much indeed I have come to be influenced by strangers online. I resemble that remark. And I bet you do too.

Two Parts Regulation, One Part Trust: Shake, then Stir

Simon Djankov writes in Regulation and Trust: Substitutes that trust and regulation may be not only inversely related, but bi-directionally causal.

Which means, if you’ve got a low-trust society, that will cause demand for regulation. Fair enough. But it also means that if you have a highly regulated society, it’s likely to be low-trust. Ouch.

If right, this means two vicious circles: one starts with low trust, which leads to regulation, which leads to lower trust. The other starts with regulation, which lowers trust, which leads to more regulation.

Is he right? The times would certainly seem to suggest so.

Lying Politicians

Is it actually impossible for a politician to be trusted? You could make a case that the nature of politics—successive needs to find a consensus opinion—means that someone with consistent principles simply cannot achieve enough consensus to be effective.

But even if that’s the case, how far do we tolerate truth-stretching, I mean lying? In The Politics of Lying, by PR Watch, the author makes the case that the lies are more omnipresent lately. The role of the press is supposedly to be even-handed; but what do you do if one side lies qualitatively more than the other? Do you serve even-handedness, or the truth?

This is partisan stuff, but a discerning reader can parse the trust issues from the particulars. And provocative issues they are.

 What To Do When You’re Losing Trust in Someone

Suppose someone disses you. Or gossips in front of you. Or otherwise causes your trust in them to begin to erode.

What should you do?

Pete Wilson, in Is Your Trust-Meter Broken, has the answer. And in my humble opinion, his answer is as right as it is counter-intuitive. A lot on both counts.

But don’t let me ruin it for you; click here to find out his answer. And let us know if you agree!

Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts

You’ve probably heard of the Grameen Bank and microfinance. Basically, tiny loans given to poor people in countries like India have resulted in great economic development and—interestingly—very low default rates. People tend to perform to what is expected of them.

But it’s not working in Argentina. Natasa Kovacevic at Harvard International Review explains why in Risky Business: Microcredit in Argentina.


“Besides raising awareness, building trust appears to be the single most important task for microcredit institutions in Argentina. And trust is difficult to secure in a country disillusioned by false promises and bombastic but fruitless speeches from pompous bureaucrats.”

If you’re used to being conned, you won’t trust. A simple concept, played out on a global stage, with such high stakes.

The Meaning of Leadership, Leading with Meaning, Meaning Leaders…

I tend to glaze over and get sleepy on hearing certain words. “Meaning” and “leadership” are two such words. About the only two writers I look forward to hearing from on those topics are Viktor Frankl and R. Crumb.

Well, make it three, now that I’ve read Brad Kolar’s piece Leadership and Meaning .

Kolar makes a simple and clear case for the idea that the provision of meaning ought to be a central role of leaders. He then goes on to say:

“I’ve found four obstacles to creating a culture that strives to achieve meaning: time, risk, understanding, and trust.”

Not only that, but he’s got five very unusual, practical and do-able steps to create a culture of meaning, e.g. “get beyond facts,” “make a five line drawing of yourself,” and read Viktor Frankl.

(I wonder if he’d consider adding R. Crumb to the list.)

Human Capital? Or Humanoid Capital?

Jon Strande tells of a friend whose employer requires them to punch in phone codes to time-track when they go for bathroom breaks (among other things). In Work is Personal… Trust Matters , Jon teases the logic out of the situation:

When companies start looking at ways to micro-manage the activities of their employees my guess is that there is a bigger problem here that is not being addressed: Put simply..

1) you don’t care about them as people…

2) you’ve not given them a reason to care about the company or the consumer

Sounds like he’s got it dead right. Micro-measurement for micro-management turns into a trust issue: it uses human beings for corporate ends, rather than the reverse.

 Thanks for reading, and thanks to all our contributors and authors. I hope you enjoyed this edition of the Carnival.

Please nominate a post for next month.

3 replies
  1. Brad Kolar
    Brad Kolar says:

    Are there any specific R. Crumb works that you’d recommend?  I’m not familiar with him, but if he’s on your list with Frankel, then I think I need to get familiar with him.

  2. Charles H. Green
    Charles H. Green says:


    First, congrats on getting your very-well written piece selected in the Carnival of Trust.

    Regarding R. Crumb, I may have been a little too tongue-in-cheek.  Crumb is the original Underground Comix author from the 60s; still active in France, he’s a somewhat controversial character, but a really fine cartoonist.  See his wikipedia profile.

    In my humble opinion, some of his best stuff was a series of dialogues between an everyman character called Flakey Foont, and a cynical bearded guru called Mr. Natural.  Mr. Natural held forth on the meaning of life quite regularly; his take was basically that of a happy cynic, a debunker of those who sought meaning.  George Carlin comes to mind, only happier.

    Sample dialogue: a chubby smiling salesman dressed in a plaid 3-piece suit knocks on Mr. Natural’s door.  "Hi," the salesman says, "I’m Cheeses K. Reist."  "Yeah, yeah, Reist–what’s your game?" sneers Natch.  And so on.

    Not in Frankl’s league, of course; but oddly, they  both preach the gospel of mind over circumstance. Pain is inevitable–suffering is optional.  Mr. Natural rules.


  3. Brad Kolar
    Brad Kolar says:

    Thanks for your response and for mentioning my article in your newsletter.

    I actually think that looking beyond mainstream is the best place to find fresh ideas.  A successful underground artist actually knows more about creating meaning than any leadership guru I’ve meant.


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