Rachel Short took time out of her hectic schedule at YSC, a business consulting firm, to address Breakfast Indaba attendees on 12 June on the relationship between trust and team performance.

Rachel set the scene for her address by explaining how trust is still an elusive phenomenon, with politicians and lawyers deemed the least trustworthy amongst professions by public poll. Trust undoubtedly has a significant impact on business success, and polls indicate that the public views small businesses as less trustworthy than larger corporates.

Research indicates that human beings are essentially poor at predicting trustworthiness, and made two critical mistakes when attempting to do so. Firstly, we tend to use reputation as a predictor of integrity, when in fact it only measures capability, not trustworthiness. Secondly, we assume confidence translates into integrity when this is not necessarily the case.

Rachel provided a useful formula for trust which can be represented as follows:

Trust = credibility + reliability + intimacy

She concluded her presentation by emphasising that social contact is the currency of trust. Ignoring a potential client/friend/other individual will destroy the foundation of trust, as all human beings require attention to build confidence in our relationships, both business and personal.

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