Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Trust and Collaboration

Trust is an essential ingredient in any true collaboration.  The most important thing to understand about trust is that it is a result.  Not a given, not an expectation--a result of a repeated pattern of behaviour.  If you want someone to trust you, you need to demonstrate trustworthiness over time.  How much you trust someone depends not only on your past experience of their behaviour, but also on the degree of risk you have shared. 

There are two vital components to trust:  letting go and engagement.  If you want to be trusted you must be prepared to be fully engaged in the interaction.  Half-hearted commitment to your actions will not inspire trust.  And less than full engagement with the other sends a message to your partner that they may not be safe as your attention is divided or you are distracted. In collaboration this activated focus is so essential.  Engagement evokes the energy for the group.  Without it collaborations go flat and creativity dries up (because creativity is all about risk engagement).

If you have decided to trust someone, then you need to practice letting go into that trust. Attempting to manipulate a trust relationship by continuing to attach to outcomes or control of the situation, prevents the other from fully participating in the collaboration and inhibits your own performance.  It endangers the collaborative effort by disturbing the delicate interplay and dynamics of creativity and emergence.  Ultimately, not letting go into trust, once it has been reasonably established, defeats the entire point of collaboration.  

NB: Photo is of Saito Sensei demonstrating loading for a hip throw.  For practioners please note: head position of uke should have neck fully extended and relaxed down (but this would leave him headless in the photo, so he's holding it up so you can see him).

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