Derek HermanMay 21, 2018
Topics: Partnerships

Where Does Trust Lie: Rachel Botsman Weighs In

Before I start, did you notice the pun? Where does TRUST LIE, get it? Trust. Lie. You can’t trust a liar. Funny right? Ok moving on.

But where does trust lie? Does it lie in the brand of the product or service you’re using? Does it have to lie in that product? Or can it lie in the people behind the scenes?

Answer: All the above with an emphasis on the people.

Rachel Botsman Explains Trust

Last week, I attended UNLEASH in Las Vegas. One of the keynote speakers was Rachel Botsman, Author of "Who Can You Trust?" and lecturer at the University of Oxford. Her research and life’s work is dedicated to trust and where it stems from, how’s it’s broken, why it’s betrayed, and how to earn it back.

I had the chance to sit down and talk with her before she took the UNLEASH stage.

We discussed trustworthiness and if integrity or transparency determined someone’s or something’s trustworthiness.

I asked her what makes something trustworthy, and that’s when she turned the tables and asked me, “When you trust Amazon, do you trust that your package will arrive on time, that they pay their taxes, or that they treat their employees fairly?”

I told her that out of the three, I use Amazon because I trust that when I order a product from them, it will arrive in the timeframe they said it would. That’s when she said that transparency doesn’t equate to trust.

Think of it this way. Imagine a mom tells her son not to eat anymore cookies until dinner. That boy swears to his mom he won’t but then goes behind her back and grabs a cookie from the jar. By dinner time he’s not hungry because he ate too many cookies. But he told his mom that he did in fact take a cookie from the jar even though she asked him not to. Does that make him trustworthy? No. He was transparent, but now the mother knows that she can’t trust him around the cookie jar.

Toddler eating cake behind mother's back does not earn her trust

So this raised an interesting point around convenience trumping trust. Say you don’t necessarily trust how a brand conduct’s business, but their product or service provides exceptional convenience. Will you still pay money to that brand? Chances are, you will.

However, when you partner with a company, especially one that serves technology, trust should be at the forefront, because as Rachel would highlight, “Trust is a human process. Technology cannot replace how humans trust each other.”

When you purchase a piece of technology, why are you buying from that specific brand name? Most likely because you heard the company behind that technology is reputable. They’re reputable because they are trustworthy and deliver on their promise. There’s a strong product and a reliable team behind it. But that’s the key to any successful organization: commitment to an honest and working product and (here’s the most important part) backed and powered by hardworking and ethical people.

When you look for your next tech solution, first look at the company before the features of the product. Are they honest and committed to your long term success and happiness in the partnership? Will they take ownership and accountability for when things go awry? If so, you’re in the right hands.

To learn more about Rachel’s teachings, visit her online at, keep in trust, and remember that integrity is king.

Derek Herman

Derek leads the Marketing Communications initiatives at Phenom People. He engages with Phenom customers to spotlight their stories in the media.

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