[OSList] Interdependence and Vulnerability: a delayed reframe re: Trust

Eric Hansen ehansen917 at gmail.com
Mon Mar 10 04:49:37 PDT 2014

First, thanks to Chris Kloth for the distinction between trust as a noun and trustworthiness as a verb.  I took a pretty long, reflective look at it this morning. I think I will return to reflect on the distinction for a while, because it makes sense to me.


Second, thanks to Christine Koehler for the link to this article. In my view, it supports Chris idea that trustworthiness is a verb, subject to change over time. I am also going to reflect on the article for a while.


Third, ( and not part of this chain) thanks to Kari Gunnarsson for the poem, copied here just because:


I am an instunent, I am finely tuned.

I am an outsider, not part of the current debate.

I risk vulnerability and lead the way as a demostration.

I have done my homework with fairness, transparency, truthfulness and presence.

I am an instunent, I am finely tuned




From: oslist-bounces at lists.openspacetech.org [mailto:oslist-bounces at lists.openspacetech.org] On Behalf Of christine koehler
Sent: Monday, March 10, 2014 2:53 AM
To: chris.kloth at got2change.com; World wide Open Space Technology email list
Subject: Re: [OSList] Interdependence and Vulnerability: a delayed reframe re: Trust


Here a great article about The Psychology of Trust in Work and Love

that says that the issue of trust is central in life ("issues of trust permeate our days from the time we’re born to the time we die, and it’s often what’s below the surface of consciousness that can have the greatest influence on a life well lived") because of our vulnerability

It also says that trust lies primarily within ourselves.. How to trust ourselves when our desires are so complex and contradictory ? And if I cannot trust myself, how can I trust others ?

I think that the law of 2 feet makes it easier to take the risk of trust and vulnerability, it helps us test those contradictory desires within us. It can also be challenging as it make them happen clearly in your own eyes.





On Thu, Feb 13, 2014 at 6:59 AM, Chris Kloth <chris.kloth at got2change.com> wrote:

Trust & Trustworthy - A bit long

Following up on Eric’s question about my distinction between trust and trustworthiness I first want to thank him for triggering this reflection for me.  I also want to note the way in which he wanted to make sure I did not misunderstand his intention as some sort of judgment… an act of trustworthiness. He recognized the potential vulnerability I might experience in order for us to learn together. 

When I got to the heart of the artichoke I mentioned earlier I discovered that the key to the distinction for me is that I prefer to think of trust as a verb, much more than as a noun.

For me trust as a noun feels like a thing, a commodity to get, have or lose. I have your trust or I need to get it and try not to lose it. Leaders, managers, organizations try to get it and hold onto it. We feel betrayed when someone abuses our trust. We don’t like it when someone takes advantage of our trust but we try to leverage the trust of others. 

For me the verb shifts the focus to relationship and effort, to passion and responsibility. For me learning to trust and be trusted is at the core of building sustainable individual, group and community relationships. Trusting is an act of intimacy. Trusting is a process that people need to nurture so it can grow and thrive. It takes work, risk, vulnerability and commitment.

I remember being a member of an executive team in a state agency many years ago. I had decided I was finally going to raise an issue with the team that was going to meet strong resistance (vulnerability). Part of deciding to raise it was checking with a frequent ally to make sure I wasn’t totally alone in taking a stand (interdependence). However, my ally arrived a few minutes late for the meeting and when I raised the issue he was silent (vulnerability). Later I asked him why he didn’t speak up. He said the reason he was late was that he had been read the riot act by agency counsel about a stand he had taken in an unrelated context. He was shell shocked. My choice was to understand the tough spot he was in and that we would need each other’s support in the future (interdependence). 

In that relationship it was my responsibility to understand what happened rather than rush to judgment. I had to understand that we all have multiple relationships, roles and responsibilities. Sometimes my role in one relationship does not align with my role in another. I have to accept responsibility for making the choices I make and understand that, having built a trusting relationship, recognize that others may also have to make tough choices.

In the context of the work we do when opening and holding space (or hosting or facilitation or convening or being agile or using any other credible tool for creating sustainable shared responsibility for bringing about what we desire) we typically do not know well or at all the people who have gathered. We often are inviting them to trust a process that they are unfamiliar and/or uncomfortable with. They may not be comfortable with each other. 

Much of my work that I have done over the years has involved addressing deep conflict rooted in cultural, racial and/or class bias. Often actively maintaining mistrust of “them” was seen as a survival skill. That does not mean they could not work together effectively in open space. At some point some people decided that they needed each other and were willing to risk vulnerability to get unstuck and move to a healthier place. 

For years on this list we have shared with one another all the ways in which we are more or less effective in opening and holding the space. How we do it is a methodology question. I submit that what we are doing is creating a crucible within which people can bring their senses of passion and responsibility to bear on something they care about with people they may or may not be in relationship with yet, but who they need. In the process they will explicitly or implicitly plumb their shared senses of vulnerability and interdependence. 

If we re-read old posts we will find many attributes that describe our behavior, demeanor and spirit when we are at our best. Each of us has said, “The key to doing this work is…” For me all these skills and attributes fall under the umbrella of being authentically trustworthy. They are helpful in building trust, but they do not equal trust.

Finally, unless I am going to maintain an ongoing relationship with their work, there is not time (or need) for them to achieve some state of being with me called trust. They only need to experience a sense of safety or trustworthiness sufficient to hold the container for their work. To expect more suggests that I am trying to get some need of my own met. Yes, I love to feel the senses of satisfaction, excitement and anticipation as they invest in their work and any compliments or appreciation they express for my role. I just don’t call that trust.


Please note that my new e-mail address is chris.kloth at got2change.com. You may also contact me by using the Contact Page at www.got2change.com.
Chris Kloth
ChangeWorks of the Heartland
chris.kloth at got2change.com
phone - 614.239.1336
fax - 614.237.2347
Think Globally, Act Locally
Please think about the environment before printing this e-mail.

On 2/10/2014 12:40 PM, Eric Hansen wrote:

Hi, Chris:
I know I am a stranger on this list. My wife, Elaine Hansen, I think is more
active, and is friends with Suzanne Daigle, who also responded to your post.
I did not respond on top of Suzanne's response so as not to "muddy the
waters." None of which matters except to provide some context for who I am.
You're email caught my eye for several reasons. The comment that struck me
most is this one:
"They had determined that I was trustworthy, which I would suggest is short
of trust. They were willing to risk vulnerability, in part, because I had
demonstrated fairness, transparency, truthfulness and presence... enough to
take a risk on the process."
I am wondering: Could you tell me (us) more about why, for you,
trustworthiness falls short of trust.
I am not asking you to justify the distinction, only to explain it more. At
this point, I do not understand. 
If you do decide to provide an answer, I would then invite you to answer one
more question:
Why is that distinction important to you?  Again, I am not asking you to
justify that distinction. I am, instead, inviting you to reflect on why the
distinction has meaning for you and then to share that meaning with the
Eric Hansen


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 Christine Koehler, créatrice d'espace de Dialogue et de Coopération <http://uploads.wisestamp.com/59a7171fcb010f7c1cffbbe7e93ad57d/1320761435.png> 
 Executive Coach, Médiateur
 www.christine-koehler.fr <http://www.christine-koehler.fr/> 
 Tel :  06 13 28 71 38
  Fax :    09  72  32 36  65


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