The Value of Trust

Trust is a key element in the effective management of project teams and contracts. Trust speeds everything up and lowers costs but you have to continuously demonstrate you are completely trustworthy or people will quickly lose confidence in you. As the level of trust goes down, the speed of doing business goes down and costs go up. When levels of trust are low, or distrust exists, relationships and communications are ineffective and everything has to be proved or validated.

Balancing the cost of validation, checking and supporting legal documentation, the requirements of no trust, against the speed and cost effectiveness of trusting the information and actions of others is an interesting dilemma. How much is enough to pay for the lack of trust? Where are the pragmatic limits??

Temporary organisations such as project teams (particularly virtual teams), where people are brought together to complete a given task that requires a high degree of collaboration, within tight timescales and with a high cost of failure don’t have time to allow trust to develop naturally. They have to work out their differences on the fly and blindly trust one another to do their jobs. This is ‘swift trust’ and can be a powerful force but it is fragile and easily broken.

In other places a reputation for integrity and trustworthiness can be established and may pay dividends.

We are working on a White Paper looking at the role of trust within projects. Any thoughts of comments will be welcome. Previous White papers can be downloaded from

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