Trust is not Binary

I read this post in Dan Rockwell’s Leadership Freak blog and it aggravated me.  

I agree with Bob that trust is given, not earned, but distrust is often earned.  Trust isn’t merely given, it is needed.  I have to trust.  I can’t function without it.  It’s a matter of how much.  Do I trust you enough?

Problem is, trust has no unit.  There is no measure.  So it feels binary, because the line is enough.  But different situations require different measures of trust. 
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Two Way Trust

A good friend called me from Austin last year to talk about a work situation. He was contemplating separating from his employer because of what he described as his boss not letting him do the job he was hired to do. As we discussed the situation, it sounded to me like his boss (the founder of a startup) has reached a point where he is afraid of losing control of the enterprise. The longer we talked, it sounded like the boss did not trust his direct reports. It also sounded like he, himself wasn’t trustworthy – he had put his directs in a trick bag, and when they called him on it, his response was not appropriate.Continue Reading

R.A.T.S. Delegation

In writing a recent post for my other blog


about planning and delegation, I fell into a set of 4 principles that define how to delegate successfully. The principles are Responsibility, Accountability, Trust, Success or RATS.

Here is the excerpt from that post:


But in reality, delegation in leadership is not about getting other people to do the work. It is about leadership development. It is about participatory ownership.


Delegation is not dumping the work on someone, and watching to see whether they succeed or fail. Delegation is assigning responsibility, developing accountability, building trust and engineering success…Continue Reading

Estimation Purposes

Mike Cottmeyer’s post about How to Think About Estimating is freakin’ brilliant. I applaud him for speaking his mind, and telling us how professional software delivery can get done.

Why?  Because he gets down to the guts of why estimation is hard for so many teams, and while it seems to me that half of the agile community is ready to give up on estimation altogether, Mike hangs in there with a reminder that the customer has a right to a rational contemplation of cost and delivery schedule.  Why – because they are paying the bill.  Period.  Maybe there are cases (startups, or companies with more money that sense), where the budget or the schedule are not constraining the delivery of software, where the customer doesn’t ask how much or how long.  I have never been in that situation.Continue Reading