Trust (n): Firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person.
"Trust is at the core of all meaningful relationships. Without trust there can be no giving, no bonding, no risk-taking."
Terry Mizrahi, Director of Ecco (Education Center for Community Organizations)
As an informal experiment, I asked a random sampling of acquaintances who they trust in their current places of work, and why. All of the answers were roughly the same: trust is earned by people who do their jobs well, are committed to the goals of the project, treat people fairly, and behave consistently through tough times. Not a single person mentioned whether they liked these people or would want to invite them over for dinner. It seems that trust (in a work context) is something that cuts beneath other personality traits. We can trust people we do not like or do not wish to spend time with.
Unlike other attributes about people, trust has little to do with personal preference. We don't choose who to trust on the basis of superficial things. Instead, there is a deeper set of calculations we make about who we can depend on. If I asked you who you would trust to save your life in a dangerous situation, you would pick people very differently than if I asked you who you'd want to go to the movies with. There is no obligation for personal chemistry and reliability to be connected to each other in any way.
But to examine trust in the context of projects, we need to break ...