The Trust Equation

What is the Trust Equation? 

Trust is a vital part of any business relationship that’s successful. However, it can be difficult to quantify trust – and even harder to create strategies to improve trust in a business relationship. 

By getting to grips with the amount of trust we have in our business relationships, we can then more accurately develop actions to take to increase trust or maintain it. 

The Trust Equation is a concept first proposed in The Trusted Advisor by David Maister, Charles Green and Robert Galford, and it aims to resolve the issue of quantifying trust. 

How to use the Trust Equation 

The Trust Equation tool helps you to evaluate the level of trust in your business relationships. These can be any type of relationship: business to consumer, team member to team member, or advisor to the business. 

The trust equation measures four variables to quantify trustworthiness. These variables include: 

  1. Credibility: How able are you to demonstrate success and competency, and are you respected amongst your peers? 
  1. Reliability: Do you follow through with action when you make a goal or promise? Are you timely in your responses? Do you have a track record of under-promising and over-delivering? 
  1. Intimacy: How deeply do you understand the other party in this relationship? Do you understand their background, the vision they have for themselves, and their industry? Do they feel confident and close in their relationship with you? 
  1. Self-Orientation: How much do you care about your own self-interest, when compared to that of the other party in the relationship?