WATCH: The Trust Equation

In this episode, I’d like to talk about ‘The Trust Equation’ as developed by Charlie Green in his excellent book, The Trusted Advisor. So, ‘The Trust Equation’ is based on ‘Trustworthiness’ equals ‘Credibility’ plus ‘Reliability’ plus ‘Intimacy’ divided by ‘Self-Orientation’.



If you’re knowledgeable about what it is that you need to be knowing about. That you’re credible in your knowledge, skill and experience and they can trust the Information that you’re sharing with them.


Are you able to do what you say you’re going to do? Are you reliable that when you say you’re going to do something, you do it. Are you reliable that when you say, “Let’s have a meeting at three o’clock tomorrow”, you’re there for that meeting at three o’clock tomorrow. When you say that you’re going to support someone with something or give them feedback on something, you actually do that too.


Is an interesting one because intimacy is all about how much empathy are you willing to share with that person, and really care about them, and show that you care. But also be willing to be vulnerable and go like, “There’s stuff I don’t know or there’s stuff where I’ve made a mistake”. And it’s a level of sharing intimacy or vulnerability and really getting to know that person, to understand what it is that makes them tick. What they need, what they want and what they’re interested in.

And all of that is actually divided by:


How much do people think that you’re out for yourself or that you’re out for others. Do they believe that when you’re talking to the team, or to them as a particular individual, that you are actually really thinking about their concerns and have their best interests at heart. Or are you more self-oriented and you’re just thinking about yourself?

So, there’s a lot of talk about the need for trust in the current work environment and it can be helpful for you to look at this equation and go, “Okay, how credible am I with my people?”, “How reliable and consistent am I with my people?” and “How much am I really showing that I care about them and listening to their needs and wants and goals and desires?” and “How much am I showing up with regards to Self-orientation or Other-orientation?”.

So, when it comes to Trust and Leadership,

Stay Curious!

With best regards,

David Klaasen

Talent4Performance help business leaders clarify complexity. We inspire people and drive continuous performance improvement, so they can convert thinking into action and results.

©David Klaasen – 2023