Voodoo at work

3 reasons all managers should bake


I love to eat. I love to bake. I call that ‘hobby-harmony’.

Today, whilst kneading bread, I was reflecting on my latest clear up exercise and all the management training information I discovered in the cupboard.

I must have spent at least 3 months of my life in rooms with current or potential managers, doing exercise after exercise to reflect on and improve our collective management skills. I’ve also read (well, skimmed in many cases) 100s of books on the subject. Type ‘management’ into Amazon and 100s of 1000s of books pop up; enough to light a bonfire that could blast an enormous hole in the ozone. And yet, I’ve never seen one that told me what managers could learn from baking. 

Why not?

As today’s bread required a ten minute knead, I had plenty of time to think about the link between baking and management. By the time the dough was stretchy, I’d formed my opinion on what a management book based on lessons taken from baking would cover.

I believe it would cover:

Lesson 1: Wait to get a rise

Treat dough right and it will rise beautifully. The kneading initiates a growth process, but you need (no pun intended) to back off and let nature do its part too. In the same way, management is about putting solid effort in whilst giving people space and time to digest the learning and put it into action.

Some things just can’t be rushed. Battering the life out of dough for 1 minute won’t necessarily make it rise any faster or higher, and some half-hearted sporadic prodding over a few hours won’t do the job either. If the bread requires 2 ten minute kneads with a few hours of rising time in-between then that’s your best approach. There are fast-track breads that require less kneading or rising time than others, (just like some people) but don’t assume that all breads and people are the same. Either give the time and energy required or be prepared to accept the consequences.

There are people who can help you work out what you’re dealing with, me included. If you’re not sure what to do, just ask. 

Lesson 2: The mix makes it

New and diverse ingredients can make an average bread special. That doesn’t mean you need to spend over the odds to get the best flour that money can buy to make good bread. You do however need ingredients that are in date and full of flavour. Those ingredients can be white, rye, granary or any other origin.

Yes, you don’t need equality legislation to tell you that you can get amazing results from a variety of different team members. Think of knowledge, skills, attitude and personality in a team as ingredients. Some real magic can happen when you mix things up a bit. I’m thinking artisan cranberry, apricot and muesli loaf! Yum. 

Go on, you know you want the wow factor in your team, not just in your diet.

Lesson 3: There is no shame in using a recipe

You are not the first person ever to bake a team… I mean bread… so there is no shame in acknowledging that some lessons have already been learnt or that there can be too much to memorise. That doesn’t mean that you can just pick up any recipe you come across on the internet and produce a masterpiece. If you are new to baking it’s best to start with a recipe that’s tried and tested or at least from a reputable source. With a good recipe, the right equipment, working conditions as well as some helpful tips, tricks and feedback you’ll soon be proud of the results.

You might be the best manager since sliced bread, (sorry, had to get that in) but even you need systems, processes and feedback.

If that hasn’t made you hungry for a piece of freshly baked bread or a baking related team building day, maybe this will help?





How to choose an apple over chocolate


I’m sitting in a room surrounded by mess.

An hour ago, the room looked tidy. But it wasn’t. Behind the cupboard doors, there was chaos. The mess was out of sight but not out of mind. I opened the door, and now I’m dealing with the consequences.

I’m not generally a messy person. I like a place to look lived-in, but not cluttered. However, even with the best of intentions, things can build up. The problem with ‘stuff’ building up over time is that it results in you having to invest significantly more effort to put it right later on. ‘A stitch in time saves nine’ as they say, whoever ‘they’ are.

And yet, even though this requires effort, and the messy in-between stage can be unsettling, there is something oddly therapeutic about de-cluttering and reorganising; identifying what is worth keeping and what is just ‘baggage’. It clears my head. I’ve read that we make healthier choices when our surroundings are de-cluttered. (Something about participants in a study choosing an apple over chocolate – that’s powerful stuff!) 

People Voodoo is all about taking good care of yourself and others, so I‘m all for making healthy choices easy. If de-cluttering is good for you, let’s get stuck in. Here are a few ideas for you to have a go at.

Idea 1 – Weed the garden

This is the easiest place to start (assuming you have a garden). A weed is a weed and you’re unlikely to feel any emotional attachment to something that popped up uninvited, unless your tortoise will suffer dandelion withdrawal problems. You get all the de-clutter benefits without any tough decisions.

Idea 2 – Discipline your desktop

If you’re more into computers than compost and clippings, then this might be the one for you. Filing isn’t just for paperwork you know. If you can’t count the icons on your desktop out loud without taking a breath, it’s worth a review. Anything you don’t open at least once a week could be filed away.

If that feels a bit too ruthless to begin with, try setting up a folder called ‘do I really need this’ and put everything in there. Anything you take back out in the next 2 weeks can stay out, the rest you need to find a new home for.

Idea 3 – Wade into the wardrobe

This may cause a sharp intake of breath for many of you. Depending on the size of your wardrobe, this could be quite a big job. If you think you’ll struggle due to scale or emotional attachment, I suggest you start with something small, like socks.

Divide everything into 3 piles:

  1. Love & wear as often as possible
  2. Can’t remember when I last wore and/or not sure I like this anyway
  3. What was I thinking!

Pile 3: This pile is about to leave your life. If everything you own has moved to pile 3, slow down. What will you wear? Maybe try pile 2 for a few items.

Pile 2: If pile 2 is substantial, either because you can’t bring yourself to move things to pile 3 (come on, you can do it!) or because you’ve been overzealous and it all just came over from pile 3, shove it all into bags and store it all somewhere out of sight. Set a calendar reminder for 1 years’ time (I like to allow for seasonality), and anything you haven’t gone looking for before then belongs in pile 3.

Pile 1: If it’s all in pile 1 and the pile is taller than you, enlist help!

Oh and before you start, just remember that it might get worse before it gets better, but it’s in a good cause and you’ll thank yourself for the mental and physical space you’re created in your life.

So, Can I offer you an apple or some chocolate?

When performance is a performance


How many times have you seen someone desperately trying to be something they’re not, whilst running themselves into the ground? Are you guilty of this?

Although pretending to be someone or something you’re not, as a creative pursuit, (think theatre), can be both challenging and good fun, it doesn’t always win you awards off stage.

As the great anonymous Vood-arian once said;

The greatest advantage of speaking the truth is that you don’t have to remember what you said.

The belief that you should ‘fake it until you make it’, is alive and well for plenty of people. If your behaviour is a constant performance, it could get exhausting. When you then revert to type it could also land you with some trust issues.

So why do we do it?

There are so many reasons that we put on a performance; trying to protect ourselves or others from hurt for example, or believing it is necessary to get ahead. As none of us are perfect, there’s also our ‘dark side’ that might need to be kept in check. (Anyone denying it?)

This week I am encouraging you to review your own level of performance when performing the various roles in your life to make sure you’re getting the balance right between ‘mask’ and ‘me’.

Question 1 – When do I perform?

Honestly and without judgement, can you think of any situations recently where you put on a bit of a performance?

Maybe you were exaggerating a bit, or consciously choosing to play down your opinion or play up your skills? Perhaps you tried to look enthusiastic when you felt the opposite or suppressed your true feelings?

Question 2 – Would it win a People Voodoo award? 

There may be times when a performance is the most humane approach. A hurt child needs reassurance. Blatantly ‘faking’ that everything is OK might be just what they need until they get patched up and calm down.

Putting on the same kind of show for your boss when asked for a project update could get messy.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to assess when it’s best to drop the mask, or at least lift it up a bit.

  • Do I know when I’m doing it?
  • Why am I performing?
  • Is that a good enough reason?
  • Is everyone in this situation being treated with dignity and respect?
  • Is anyone, including me, going to get hurt now or in the future because of it?
  • If I had to sustain this kind of performance longer term, could I keep it up without exhausting myself?
  • Is this a skill I am working on that will feel less like a performance when I get better at it?
  • Does it feel dishonest?
  • Would those whose opinion I value, see it as dishonest?
  • What would happen if this came to light?
  • Is there another way to get the same result without performing?

As so often in my blogs, this exercise is all about self-awareness. Once you have the awareness, when and how much you perform is entirely up to you of course.

Are you believing without really seeing?


Did you know that the police now catch more criminals with CCTV than with DNA? According to a BBC documentary,  CCTV footage is increasingly being used to link multiple crimes, and catch criminals. Not everyone thinks surveillance is a great idea of course, as CCTV conjures up images of George Orwell’s  1984, where ‘Big Brother’ watches our every move, BUT the concept of the watchful eye might just help you practice People Voodoo.

Imagine if you looked at all situations as if through CCTV; if you could switch off your emotion, personality, life experience, values or upbringing and just capture the raw facts before carefully drawing conclusions.

Unlike Agatha Christie’s fictional Hercule Poirot, who painstakingly applies the ‘little grey cells‘ to the situation before unveiling a murderer, most of us are a little more fast food than slow cooker about judging others. Let’s face it, we don’t often have the time to challenge our own conclusions or check the accuracy of our assumptions.

‘He attends a meeting without saying a word’ quickly becomes ‘he’s not very confident’ and ‘she re-reads her e-mails several times’ translates to  ‘she’s obsessive’.

When you strip back to what can be seen on CCTV and then try applying alternative motives to the behaviours and events you see, judgement turns to curiosity and you become a people detective. At work this curiosity could mean the difference between a complementary working relationship or one riddled with misunderstandings and conflict.

If for example, I type quickly and struggle with proof reading my own work, then a colleague with high attention to detail has the potential to be my worst enemy or my closest ally. I’d probably have a good working relationship with them if they don’t want me to make a fool of myself and offer to help me by having a quick look. I’d be less likely to value them as a colleague if I heard them openly comment that ‘typos are just a sign of laziness’ seconds before sending me an e-mail pointing out my typo on page 3.

If this is an area of People Voodoo that you’d like to hone, here is something to get you practising.

Activity – Get behind the camera (not literally!)

Step 1 – Like a CCTV camera, become a keen observer of what people do and how they do it. Later, review your own mental footage and be careful to separate what actually happened from what you think, feel or presume to know about why. It takes some practice.

Example: Matilda arrives 5 minutes late for the 9am team meeting 4 Mondays in a row. When she does arrive, she enters quickly, keeping her head down, and takes a seat at the back.

Step 2 – Notice if your reaction is one of judgement or is open and curious. If it is judgemental, try to come up with some alternative options.


Option 1 – Judgement

Matilda has terrible timekeeping, isn’t committed to the job and doesn’t respect everyone else’s commitments.

Option 2  – Open minded and curious

There is a reason that Matilda is late every Monday. I don’t know why. I wonder why that happens. e.g.

  • Matilda’s contract doesn’t start until 9.30 but she makes an effort to get here early on a Monday for this meeting and doesn’t want to disrupt the meeting.
  • Matilda has an 8am meeting at the other end of the building and this is the fastest she can get here, because they always run over.
  • Matilda is nervous about these meetings because there is someone in the room who bullies her. It takes her the best part of 10 minutes to build up the courage to come and she feels really awkward when she arrives late but tries to hide it.


Just Remember – Observing or asking yourself questions doesn’t improve your working relationships, in the same way that watching CCTV doesn’t catch criminals. You do need to take action. Try starting with a simple question, e.g  I see we both attend the 9am meeting but never sit next to eachother. How does that happen?









3 ways to avoid empathy slip-ups


Communicating with people who have a different outlook on or approach to life can be simultaneously challenging and rewarding. We’ve all met people we just gel with and empathise with more easily, and others we find more tricky.

I’ve spent many years helping individuals and groups become more aware of their own style and how it affects and can be adapted to improve their relationships with others. Along the way, I’ve witnessed many situations where the best of intentions led to misunderstandings, slip-ups, bad feelings and fallouts.

Always on the lookout for ways to help people be more empathetic and understand each other better, I was genuinely pleased when social media became flooded with lists of ‘5/10 things you should to know about….’ There’s really nothing better than a bullet point, whistle stop tour through the inner workings of a group of like-minded people to help raise awareness.

I’ve read every list that’s come my way, from ‘Things you should know about people with tattoos’ to ‘Things you should know about mothers that decide not to breast feed’ and there is some pretty useful stuff out there.

Sadly, as with all communication, this list writing can also present a communication ‘banana peel’ to slip up on. Slip-ups I’ve come across have included;

  • writers venting their frustrations at being misunderstood, whilst setting unrealistically high expectations of the people around them, with apparently little intention of adapting their own approach.
  • writers sharing stories of sadness and grief, and whilst asking for greater empathy of their situation, inadvertently or sometimes more directly, suggesting that their pain is somehow superior to the pain of others.

Even if you practise People Voodoo it can be hard to empathise with someone who throws accusations, downplays or belittles your own experiences or expects all the effort to come from you.

And yet, empathy is so incredibly important to good relationships, so here are 3 ways to build your empathy muscle to help avoid empathy slip-ups.

1.Try to separate the behaviour from the intention

Intentions are about who we are, behaviours are about how we are.

Yes, of course how we behave matters, and destructive behaviour needs to be challenged, but before you judge a person entirely on their behaviour, try to see the intention behind it. It is possible that they either don’t have the emotional resources or communication skills to express their intention in a more positive way.  Some well timed, tactfully constructed feedback might be all they need.

2 Be fair with the way you give your empathy

Not everyone shows feelings in the same way, and context and pressure can play havoc with our approach to expressing our feelings.

The person crying the hardest isn’t necessarily the one hurting the most. In fact, someone who has been brought up to look ‘strong’ might intentionally appear emotionless but, shaken up like a can of fizz, they will later explode to release that tension.

With your People Voodoo hat on, try to give your empathy and support equally, regardless of how feelings are expressed. The phrase, ” I can see you are finding this hard” can be appropriate to someone who is shouting or someone in floods of tears.

3.Be prepared to pay for breakages

Emotions are like crystal glasses. If you are going to get them out more than just on special occasions, (and you really should), then you can expect a few breakages along the way. It’s easily done. A scratch here, a chip there.

Be willing to accept your mistakes, apologise and try again, And be bold enough to expect that of others too.

You won’t get it right every time, but don’t let that stop you trying.




Have you felt an electric touch?


When is the last time you were touched by someone? Was it powerful?

How much ‘being touched’ by people you hardly know would you say is acceptable? necessary? or even desirable?

Does the idea of being touched at work, electric or not, make you feel just a little bit uncomfortable or do you secretly hope that this blog is your ticket to becoming electric?

I wonder if your view changes when I define ‘being touched’ like this;

‘When something happens that moves you to emotion; when you feel affected or emotionally stirred’

Touch can be physical. It can be wonderful, especially the romantic variety, but rightly gets some pretty bad press if it’s inappropriately used or is non consensual.

Touching people emotionally is just as powerful and can be much longer lasting than physical touch. It can trigger passionate anger or deep compassion. It can be the making or breaking of a great relationship, creating the intimacy needed to build trust or demolishing years of hard work.

I can remember so many occasions in my life where a word or a gesture stirred extremely powerful emotions in me.

As Maya Angelou so beautifully put it;

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou

How do you make people feel?

NEWS FLASH!!! If your ‘anti-fluff’ alarm has gone off, then let me reassure you that this may be about emotion but it’s not at all fluffy. It’s actually rock solid. It’s about emotionally intelligence; the capacity to acknowledge, manage and express emotion in your relationships with others appropriately, and it is critical to relationship success.

Practicing People Voodoo is about being an opportunist; seizing big and small opportunities to connect with others in an authentic and meaningful way, so emotional intelligence is very close to my heart.

If you’ve been told that you have a natural ability to connect with people then you have a real gift. Congratulations, use it well! If not, then don’t worry, because emotional intelligence is something you can learn and develop. You just need to work out a bit, to build your emotional muscle.

So today, let’s start at the beginning – with the senses!

One of the biggest barriers to connecting with others is being unable to connect with yourself; acknowledging your own emotions and what stirs them.

I know that when I feel hurt, it’s a if someone has grabbed my heart and squeezed it and for a split second I can’t breathe. Then a red hot surge in my chest, like a ball of hot lava, rushes from my chest up my neck and to my eyes, whilst the rest of my body feels heavy and numb like it’s encased in concrete.

Even though I can feel anger and love just as strongly, they feel physically very different.

Your turn.

  • What do emotions feel like in your body? Can you describe them?
    • Does your breathing become faster and more shallow or slower and deeper
    • What is your heart doing?
    • Do you feel any heat anywhere? or any tension?
    • Is it more of a thud or a whooshing?
  • How do the sensations change between being excited or angry, proud or frustrated, happy or afraid?
  • What situations stir emotion in you?
    • Do you know the triggers?
  • Who do you know who has an electric touch?

People Voodoo is about being kind to yourself, so please resist the temptation to judge what you find. Every sensation is an important message to be listened to. Anger and fear serve a purpose, it’s what you do next that matters.

For the next few days why not spend some time fully experiencing your emotions in all their electric glory.

I’ll be back for more about reading emotions in others another day. Remember to sign up to get People Voodoo via email if you don’t want to miss it.



Have you outgrown your bowl?

Jumping goldfish wallpapers 20141

When is the last time you learnt something new? Maybe you picked up a new skill or added to your knowledge?

Did you enjoy the experience? Or did you get a sudden rush of fear as you threw yourself over the imaginary boundary at the edge of your comfort zone?

Learning in small chunks and steadily over time can feel quite comfortable, but not all learning is comfortable. In fact, some of the most powerful and life changing leaps forward, that can change the way you see yourself and affect the way you live your life, are quite the opposite. They make you feel like a fish out of water.

These are the things you avoid; that frighten you; that you tell yourself you’re not good at, or can’t do; the things you’ll do when you’re older, wiser, when the timing is right or you have been on the right training course. Will that day ever come?

If you’re honest with yourself, you can probably name a few things straight away that fall squarely into this category. Then add to those, the things in your blind spot; the things that other people see that you either can’t see or can’t quite accept.

Many of us avoid the storm of emotions that can come with powerful growth. It takes courage to face your fears; to look your insecurities deep in the eye and say , go on, try me!

If you want to grow to your full potential, sometimes the only way to be kind to yourself long term is to challenge yourself today. To leap, not blindly into the void, but boldly towards a better you.

A ship in the harbour is safe but that is not what ships were built for.

If you are not getting at least a little uncomfortable as you grow, then you are probably operating inside your comfort zone.The reason your comfort zone has it’s name is because it’s, guess what, comfortable. That means that leaving it behind will get uncomfortable, at least initially. But let me tell you with absolute certainty, that it’s always worth it.

Just like the goldfish that grows bigger in a bigger bowl, you too will grow as a person if you don’t hem yourself in with limiting beliefs and fear of the unknown.

The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.

C. JoyBell C.


Can you lead a horse to water?


Would you like to gain a deeper insight into your leadership style? If so, whose opinion do you value? Who sees you for who you really are?

A few years ago I asked myself exactly those questions.

I decided to ask a horse..

Show me your horse and I’ll tell you who you are.

English Proverb

Horses can be powerful teachers.

The magic of getting feedback from horses, is that they don’t measure your leadership on elaborate vocabulary or carefully crafted messages. They are attuned to whether you are fully present, rather than well presented. Horses respond to authentic leadership, not title or professional status and therefore the lessons they offer can be powerful and revealing. If you don’t lead, they don’t follow!

You may not be leading horses in the day job, but here are 3 lessons that I learnt on my training day with horses that continue to guide my leadership today.

Lesson 1 – Have a purpose

There is no leadership without direction. You can’t lead a horse to water if you don’t know what water is or how to find it. Horses can sense whether you know what you are here to achieve, even if it is just to walk once around the field. If you are not quite sure where you are going, why would anyone follow?

As a person do you not expect the same from your leaders?

As the leader, you need a vision that you believe in; purpose. Following you, needs to be more compelling than staying still or turning to go another way.

Ask yourself;

  • Do I have a purpose?
  • Is that purpose clear in my own mind?
  • Am I fully focused on it in the presence of those I am leading?

Lesson 2 – Align your communication

When working with horses, no amount of verbal acrobatics is going to get you from A to B.

Horses are excellent at picking up on what you don’t say; your tone and your body language. If you are sending mixed messages, how can your message really be trusted? How can YOU really be trusted?

If you’ve been told to fake it until you make it, good luck! If you try to fake it around horses they just dig their hooves in and leave you tugging on the reins. Dragging a horse along is not humane, and it’s also pretty ineffective.

Ask yourself;

  • Who am I dragging along with me as a leader?
  • What messages am I sending that might not be aligned?
  • Can I be trusted?

And just in case you ask, yes, you can lead in a meaningful way and with conviction even if you need to tow the company line!

Lesson 3 – Don’t abort or abandon, adapt

Leadership is all about consequences, and I don’t mean – ‘follow me or there’ll be trouble!’

If you give an instruction or move in a specific direction, you should be expecting an outcome; for the horse to come with you. The horse has no agenda; it’s not after your job, or worried about meeting conflicting deadlines. If the horse is not walking, there is nothing wrong with the horse. You are not leading. You need to adapt your approach.

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.

Henry Ford

Check back on Lesson 1 and 2 and then try something different. Not every horse, or person for that matter, is the same. Personality certainly comes into it. Some people just need more time or more information.

Ask yourself;

  • What effect is my leadership approach having?
  • What could I do differently to demonstrate my commitment to my goal?


Being willing to try new things will to not just give you a better result today, it will also make you more comfortable with adapting your style for the future, making the experience more positive for everyone.

What other unusual leadership teachings have you come across? I’d love to hear about them.








Are you a top monkey or limping lion?


If you had to describe the culture of your organisation or your team how would you describe it?

I once heard about a sales team that described themselves as being like a pride of lions.

Sales aside, does this sound like a team you’d want to be a part of? top of the food chain? majestic? powerful?

It turns out they were pretty unhappy and ineffective. They felt the environment was too hot most of the time and spent their days looking for opportunities to laze in the shade waiting for food to run by. When it did, the females would pull together and pounce on it and the males would fight over who got the biggest share. They did just enough not to go hungry but not much more. If success were a 100 metre sprint this team would be last to limp across the finish line.

I’ve worked with many teams and organisations over the years with cultural challenges of this kind. Laziness, distrust, infighting, exhaustion, favouritism, self-focus, sexism and a variety of other -isms and bad habits that had become deeply ingrained in ‘how we do things around here’.

Where there is a negative culture, there is unhappiness and suffering and that can show up in many different ways including bullying, blame and cover ups. That doesn’t end well.

Luckily, if you practise People Voodoo at work your hands are not tied.

Here are 3 steps that anyone can take to start improving the culture.

Step 1 – Turn 3 again

What is it that 3 year-olds do so well?

They ask WHY again and again and again.

Let me put this into context with a well known story.

A group of scientists put 5 monkeys in a cage, hung a bunch of bananas above them and placed a ladder in the cage that allowed them to reach the bananas.

When a monkey climbed the ladder to reach the bananas all the monkeys were sprayed with cold water.

It didn’t take long until the monkeys pulled down any monkey that tried to reach the bananas. Soon they all stopped trying.

The scientists then replaced a monkey, who unaware of the water, climbed up to the bananas only to be attacked by the other monkeys. The new monkey soon learnt not to try.

A second monkey was then substituted and the situation repeated itself with the first new monkey now joining in. The same again on a third substitution until none of the original monkeys were left in the cage.

None of these monkeys had ever been sprayed with water and yet none of them climbed the ladder or let others climb the ladder.

They didn’t know why – they just knew that this is how things are done around here!

This is not a real experiment (and no monkeys were hurt in the making of this blog) but the message is important. It’s easy just to go along with things.

You have a huge advantage over these monkeys; you can ask why everyone is missing out on bananas. Be inquisitive about why things are the way they are. If you don’t understand the root cause for the existing negativity it can be hard to change it.

Step 2 – Stop joining in

If your behaviour is respectful and appropriate then there is no harm in opting out of the negative culture. Stop beating up the monkey who is trying to climb the ladder.

Yes, this can be easier said than done – which is why there is step 3.

Step 3 – Find allies

You won’t be the only one who feels that things could be better. Find others who respond well to your more positive approach and bring them on-board.

Taking the high ground means you are vulnerable to being pulled back down by those who are comfortable with the status quo. The more of you there are to resist the pull, the more effectively you can resist it or pick yourself up if you do fall into bad habits.

When it comes to making a difference, one person practising People Voodoo is alone, two are company but three are a tipping point for change.


Mind the gap


Do you think others  find you worthy of trust?

How easily do you trust others?

If you practice People Voodoo, the issue of trust is probably as close to your heart as it is to mine. A relationship without trust can be a very lonely and uncomfortable one. To reduce that suffering we need to understand how trust works and how to bridge the gaps in trust.

Charles H. Green’s  Trust Equation is a brilliant starting point.


Trust = (credibility   x  reliability   x  intimacy) / self-orientation.


Let’s take a closer look.

  • Credibility is all about words; what we say.
    • Do you sound like you know what we are talking about? Are you knowledgeable and consistent in what you say? or do you wing it?
  • Reliability is all about our actions. 
    • Do you do what you say you’ll do? Can you be depended upon? or do you fail to follow through?
  • Intimacy is about security and emotion.
    • Are you confidential? Do others find it comfortable to share information with you? or are you known to embarrass others or leak information?
  • Self-orientation is about focus.
    • When you are focused on achieving your own goals do you still consider those around you? or does it appear to be all about you?

What is most humbling is the power of self-orientation to win or damage trust. Even if you scored 10 out of 10 on credibility, reliability and intimacy  (10 x 10 x 10 = 1000),  a reputation for having high self-orientation (10) can wipe out 90% of your good work. (1000/10 = 100).

Mathematics to one side, we intuitively know that it is easier to trust those who have our best interests at heart, even if they are occasionally late, or pretend to know more than they really do in the pub quiz.

This week, to practice some People Voodoo, why not focus your attention on closing some trust gaps.

  1. Be open and honest about what you know and consistent in the input you give.
  2. Check what you are committing to, ensuring you do not over-commit and under deliver, with deadlines or offers of time.
  3. Consider how you invite and treat information offered to you, whether that’s the way you handle paperwork or how loudly you speak in a public place.
  4. Ensure that you are demonstrating a genuine interest and concern for others.

And last but not least, if you are able to do so humanely, why not let someone else know what they could be doing to earn your trust.