Why don´t we trust anything or anyone?

Practically all  trust levels are at all time lows. Only  6% trust the press, 8 out of 10 Americans say that they have never trusted the government (1); only 21% of Mexicans say that they trust in what the state does (2). In Mexico, on a 1 to 10 scale, the universities, the church and the army only receive a 7 while the political parties, the unions, the police and  the presidency are graded below 5 (3). In many of the studies we conduct here  at High Speed  Solutions we run into the same phenomena: trust has been broken for people. Could it be that we are losing our ability to trust?

First, we must make it clear that reaching a point of not being able to trust anyone or anything is like the social apocolypse. We are social beings and we depend on one another,  so this doesn´t seem like a possible option; if we didn´t trust anything we would simply collapse.  A simple example of how important trust  is and will continue to be,  is that one of the indicators for deciding if one place is better than another to work for, depends on the trust that we have towards our employers and not on policies or benefits . (4).

To be accurate there is talk of a trust crisis (5). Indeed, in opinion polls and in research at a global level we are going  to run into data indicating that we trust less, but there are those who say that in reality we only say that we trust less. It´s like a domino effect: as it is being said that  we have lost trust, this causes an echo and all of us end up thinking that we trust less when we are asked., but in real life, despite saying that we don´t trust the police,  when we feel threatened we continue to call them , we trust the doctor who says that an operation is the best solution; and we continue to trust in the brands , believing that they will comply with what they promise on their labels.

There is something key here. The example of the police, the doctor and the brands pose a vertical relation in which whoever or whatever we have to trust has a sort of power over us. So it isn´t necessarily that we don´t  trust anything or anybody , but what we trust today has been modified: now we trust the famous influencers,  the reviews,  close friends,  family 84% of the consumers say that they trust recommendations (6)- , in other words, more horizontal relations. We trust whatever deserves our trust: WE TRUST  RELATIONS, NOT INSTITUTIONS. And that little change is a big turn of the bolt for reformulating our strategies.

Trust will be possible to rebuild to the extent in which we humanize our businesses and brands. What exactly are we  referring to?  In this Ted Talk, the philosopher Onora O’Neill (6) gives a simple example: a store that changes the socks  we usually buy without asking for explanations is trustworthy. We trust this store because it is in a vulnerable situation, it accepts that it isn´t perfect in the interaction and it goes beyond  saying it: vulnerability and being in constant movement are  things that humanize us. Therefore our task is to think less about mistrust and start implementing routes that will contribute to more horizontal relations and earn the trust of others;   by thinking of adequate, useful and simple evidence showing that we deserve to be trustworthy.

The earthquake that occured on September 19th, 2017, reinforces these points, we  mistrust what we see, the propagation of unconfirmed news,  the reports of different authorities , or   what political parties declare. However we cling to trusting one another; the citizens who ask for and offer help. Because it is the only way  to maintain cohesiveness as a society. In July ,2017 De la Riva conducted an opinion study which revealed that 44%  trusted in the support  offered in times of emergencies……. We are sure that this percentage would rise significantly today.

 

References:

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbasile/2016/04/27/in-nobody-we-trust-american-cynicism-in-the-digital-age/#5be902693953
  2. http://www.parametria.com.mx/carta_parametrica.php?cp=91
  3. http://www.consulta.mx/index.php/estudios-e-investigaciones/mexico-opina/item/884-mexico-confianza-en-instituciones-2016
  4. ¿Qué es un excelente lugar para trabajar? Great place to work http://www.greatplacetowork.com.mx/nuestro-enfoque/ique-es-un-excelente-lugar-de-trabajo
  5. O’Neill Onora (2002) A question of Trust: the BBC Reith Lectures.
  6. http://www.ciceron.com/2013/10/trust-us-were-professionals-infographic/
  7. https://www.ted.com/talks/onora_o_neill_what_we_don_t_understand_about_trust?language=es