Trust

21-07-2009

On the parking lot of Nakumatt Junction in Nairobi, I take a decision in a split second. I decide to leave Matthew and all our Kenyan luggage including our recently acquired court order and the court certificate with David, our taxi driver over the last seven months. Matthew’s emergency passport is in my pocket, but it would be utterly useless, if David were to take off and leave. I am going to buy a few items, before Matthew and I set off for a final few days at the Castle Forest Lodge. We have got all our documentation complete and we know we will fly back to the Netherlands in five days (8 July 2009).

I realize all of this when I am half away across the parking lot. When I turn around to have a look at the car, I see Matthew with a big smile behind the steering wheel on David’s lap. He loves the driving seat in a car, the main reason why I left him with David. I decide it is an ‘ok’ risk to take, based on intuition and our experiences with David. I have certainly not complied with the advise I wrote about in my very first column: “You cannot trust anyone around here”.

So I started of writing about trust and the final column is also about trust. I found David and Matthew right where I left them in the car on the parking lot after my shopping. Our basic choice to start with the assumption of trust when we meet people, has worked well. ‘To start with the assumption of trust’, was not something we invented. Children do it intuitively. While we were wondering how he would respond to us, Matthew gave us his trust almost immediately when we met him.

Building trust has become a key skill for managers and consultants. Showing your flaw or vulnerability can be a natural way to do that. Matthew does that by falling asleep in unusual places. For instance on the plane with his feet on his neighbours’ lap. Not to be repeated in client environments, but a very inspiring role model to bring home.