The Trust Ladder

Working together demands trust. Robert Lynch and Paul Lawrence introduce the Trust Ladder. A few of their concepts are fascinating. Are you defending your own interests (Acquiring and Defending), or are you building something new together (Creating and Bonding)?

In a partnership of NLR (until No Leprosy Remains) and Liliane Foundation, I have experienced how this works. We were going to merge our programs in Vietnam in order to achieve more impact and efficiency. It turned out to be quite complicated, since we both had our own interests and organisational systems to hold on to (Acquire and Defend). At a certain stage we got an opportunity to develop something completely new in which we had no history, thanks to an external financing opportunity. That made our cooperation move in a completely different way. We had no interests to defend, but wanted to create something new together (Create and Bond). The Vietnamese orthopedic shoemaker training institute that resulted was a big success and the only one of its kind in Asia. Based on this experience, I often use Create and Bond as a concept to make a collaboration attractive: do not just submerge into complicated systems, but come up with a practical activity that you are passionate about as partners, and get on with it, get energy out of it!