Recently a colleague wrote a blog post titled “What is Trust?” in attempting the answer the question if it”s ethical to gain people’s trust so as to promote yourself or businesses. Not an easy question to answer that’s for sure. He wisely pointed out that is comes back to intent to which I would agree in principle. However, even this is open to interpretation; that is, what looks like for each of us that largely depends on our unique perspectives in defining intent. A person or business may believe their marketing, persuading, influencing, and perhaps even imposing their opinion and products on others as “helping” people.
I see this as a continuum. One end is relatively passive and well-intentioned with the offer and provision of assistance. This pull type approach is about holding people as able and meeting people where they are at. It involves asking questions and responding appropriately with. It’s about care-giving and desire for respect, understanding, and empowerment of others based on abundance and love. The other end is aggressive and even ill-intentioned forced intrusion of help. This push approach is about holding people as unable and need to be told where they are at or what is good for them. It involves hidden agendas, duplicity, and manipulation of facts, features and benefits about products or services. It’s about care-taking and the need for power and control for self based on scarcity and fear.
Along the continuum lie is a wide variety of behaviours acted out depending on one’s beliefs, expectations, assumptions, concerns and hopes. These in turn are driven by underlying instinctive needs to acquire, bond with others, comprehend and defend for fairness in the world that surrounds us. In the end, like many aspects of our human existence, it has many shades of grey and very little black and white.
What does trust and intent look like for you?