Here is my reponse to this LinkedIn question posted by David G.
I don’t believe we have totally lost the ability to trust one another.
I do believe however, that trust is earned.
Whether we trust one another depends on many different factors:
Our History: If we have been burned in the past we will be less likely to put ourselves in that vulnerable state again. However we are more likely to trust the person who has come through for us in the past.
The Data: We look at all the information that we can see, hear, feel, taste and touch to determine whether the situation is safe.
The Context: When we look at the situation, the reputation and the personal incentives (how they will win) of the other person are also considered.
Building trust is a slow process that is earned a little at a time. Come through for me this time and I will trust you a little more next time.
However, you can lose trust in an instant. As one of my favourite sales gurus Zig Ziglar http://www.ziglar.com/ says,
“If you lie to me and I catch you. I will put a question mark at the end of everything you say in the future.”
There is also an excellent book by Stephen M.R. Cover called The Speed of Trust, http://www.speedoftrust.com/ which talks about how to build trust, and how building a trusting organization increases speed and reduces costs.