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Trust Agent 1B – How is a Trust Agent?

Written by skstewart

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Child Jumps to her MotherSusan K. Stewart, Trust Agent for Practical Inspirations.

Lofty sounding title, but a non-existent one. Or, at least, not a title that I can boost of. It’s not for me to confer on myself. But it is one for which I can strive for.

Trust Agent isn’t who or what you are. It is more of a state of being. It is a behavior. Brogan and Smith tell us that we don’t call ourselves Trust Agent. It’s a how we behave in relation to our friends and associates, and our competitors. Maybe, most importantly, in relation to our competitors.

We live in a culture that doesn’t trust those we know, certainly no trust at all for those we don’t know. We’ve become a cynical lot. Today, more than ever, trust is earned. And it takes radically different thinking.

To become known as a Trust Agent, we have to be other focused. We have to be willing to give, without even a sub-conscience notion of what we may gain. There will never be a degree or certification in Trust Agent.

The authors give us six characteristics/actions of Trust Agents; each of one will be covered in subsequent chapters. I won’t detail them here.

1. Make Your Own Game
2. One of Us
3. The Archimedes Effect
4. Agent Zero
5. Human Artist
6. Build An Army

Under laying these six items is Social Capital. Social Capital is like nailing that proverbial jelly to the proverbial tree. After reading the section, we know what it is but can’t quite describe. It is probably best described as a favor. The good we do for someone else will someday come back to us.

When we freely give, we freely receive.

As I read this chapter I came to the conclusion that the bottom line of becoming a Trust Agent is honesty.

Robert Scoble is mentioned as an example of someone who developed a strong level of trust. Why? Because he was honest about his company, Microsoft. I haven’t even read his blog and I like him based on the story told in this chapter. He may be someone I can trust.

The number one reason for not attending church is there are too many hypocrites. (This is from my unscientific survey taken as I’ve wandered through life.) What is really being said is there is no one I can trust because the people aren’t honest.

Christians should strive to be Trust Agents in and out of church. What we do to gain trust in the business world, we can do to gain trust in every part of our lives – even the spiritual part.

I came away from Chapter One thinking there’s more to being a Trust Agent then just how we build influence on the web. Do you think being a Trust Agent is for Internet presence only? What are some of the other areas in our lives where we need to become Trust Agents?

Susan K Stewart is a writer, speaker, mental health advocate, teacher, and homeschooler.  She blogs at Blogs of Books.

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  • I think you bring up a good point. I think people are simply afraid of each other. I was walking downtown Chicago this morning and there was a man trying to move two large fans at once. He eventually put one down and continued on with the other. I offered to carry the one he left behind for him and he declined my offer. I don’t know why… I was fully capable and in no hurry. Maybe he just wasn’t used to a random stranger offering him a hand. I believe the only thing we can do is continue to be nice to people. Like you said, being nice and offering ourselves up freely without the thought of what we might gain is the key to being trusted.

    Good thoughts!

  • I think we want to be trustworthy in all aspects of life, but the web gives us the ability to leverage our influence. Like the example of the joke, we can tell one person in person and hopefully they’ll get a laugh out of it, but if we post it online it continues to give people laughs even when we’re off doing other things.

  • Graham, I’m in the habit of giving money to strangers who ask for it. Maybe $1, maybe $20 if I have. I believe the money in my pocket belongs to God and once I pass it off to the other person, they are now responsible to God for it — not to me.

    I get many comments about why I shouldn’t do that. Most of them being something like it might be spent on alcohol or drugs.

    I believe I must take the person’s word for it – need a train ticket, tank of gas, food for the cat.

    I think to become a Trust Agent not only must we be trustworthy, but we also must learn to trust.

  • Susan, I appreciate your conclusion that” the bottom line of becoming a Trust Agent is honesty.” I totally agree, and honesty seems to be what grows our Social Capital. I think it is just as easy to see if a person is being honest and real through social media as in person-to-person contact. And when see that it is the “real” us they are interacting with, trust can begin to grow.

  • Susan,

    In many ways I think it is much easier to build trust online than it is in our non-virtual world. We have had this fundamental issue with trust since Adam and Eve hid from God in the Garden of Eden.

    When they became aware of their nakedness (both physical and spiritual), they were afraid and vulnerable. Just as Adam and Eve hid from God, we hide everyday from those around us. We only let little bits and pieces of our true self out here and there.

    This insecurity we feel because of our nakedness, combined with the walls we build to hide it, do not foster an environment where trust can develop. The security of hiding behind the computer screen though allows us to share more of ourselves.

    It is in this environment that we may get to truly know someone because of the honesty they reveal. It is a shame that we as Christians cannot be more honest about our struggles because we fear what others will think. Imagine what our churches would be like if they were filled with authentic people.


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